It's funny how things go sometimes. Well, actually most of the time. You make plans. You think things ought to go a certain way, in a particular direction and then....they don't.
What's that saying? Man proposes, God disposes. Life is what happens when ...something something. Life does take strange turns and twists.
I was having that conversation today with a friend as we waited for her radiation appointment. We spoke of life, of parental expectations, of cruelty, change, life altering events, disappointments..... life. Life. Just...life. We spoke of parents that didn't accept or embrace the choices their children have made. How it causes pain, emotional, physical and all around creates plain ole stinky feelings. That it takes time to get over those things. To be all right with the person YOU are, the choices you've made, and the life you live.
She spoke of things she'd like to do, but was so very tired from chemo and radiation. I tried mostly to just listen, although I did my fair share of sharing. I hope I listened more than I shared. Sometimes I know I'm not great at the art of listening instead of waiting for my chance to share. I hope I'm getting better at that.
She doesn't have children, so I did share how it felt to me at various times in raising my babies. How it felt to have parental expectations.
The desire to keep them from the railroad tracks of life. To warn them of the oncoming trains that we, as parents, can plainly see coming. We beg them to get off the tracks. Can't you see the train? Hear that whistle? Don't you feel the ground shaking? Oh...please run, get away from there. It's dangerous and..... The train comes and you are forced to watch. It's not your place to pick them up and carry them from the tracks as you did when they were little. They are adults now, so you watch. You grieve their sorrows, feel their pain.
And then, after a bit you make peace with the fact that you did the best you could. That their choices are their choices, not yours. Their lives, not yours. You wait beside the tracks, but you don't watch any longer. You still love, oh how you love, but you have freed yourself from their pain because it is not your pain. It's their pain. You don't own it. They do.
Ah life. What a cruel teacher you are...
The unimaginable joy I had with my babies is no longer. It's grown, changed, evolved and morphed into something else entirely. I can no longer fix an owie with a kiss and a hug and a snuggle. My magic powers have been taken from me by time.
But one thing has not changed...and that is my heart. I love them, all four of them, with everything that I am. I always will. And though I no longer stand watch on the train tracks, I hope they each know that I will stand with them after the train has passed.