Honeybee in a trumpet creeper flower
It is not a small thing to love a child. She sits on the bed's edge as she bends to pack her trunks for college, boxes and bags surrounding her like hounds, eager to do her bidding. I lean against the wall, the carpet like sand under my toes and I feel my legs loosen and shift. Conversation swells between us but my breath surges in ragged gulps, my chest tight, aching. I do not feel old enough to have one child headed to war and another to college. We discuss her brother's deployment in small, careful words, always coming back to easier thoughts such as sheets and towels. My emotions tumble and grind before sifting to pieces at my feet. Tears well but do not fall and I realize with exquisite clarity that I do not know what to feel. I am proud of his choice but terrified of his options. It is not a small thing to love a child. She pauses in her packing and pulls me close.