There are many unknowns in this life. It is reassuring that you can always make a seven year old crack up when you use “toilet” or “stinky” in Mad Libs.
I learned several years ago that once you become a parent, you don’t get to grieve, not really. When my grandmother passed away, I wanted to make the family chocolate chip cookies to think of her. Selah, then three, threw a huge tantrum because she wanted to help me, and I had wanted to spend that few moments alone to think and cry. I made the cookies to a soundtrack of shrieks, and felt a little angry that I didn’t get the mourning time I felt I deserved.
I am in the process of becoming a single mother. There are an awful lot of logistical details to take care of, work to do, decisions to make, and things to worry about and grieve. But this morning, when I drove my children to their various schools and child care, I felt grateful for the laughter of my seven year old, who was inviting me to give her nouns and “ad-JEC-tives” for Mad Libs.
If I were on my own, this would probably look a lot different. A lot more self-indulgent. I could probably use some aspects of that. But on the other hand, I can’t wallow or wing it. I must make breakfast for people, even if I’m worried about how much it costs and would rather sleep in. I must take care of myself and my logistics, because three people are relying on me to do that. And I don’t lack for wonderful snuggles from my 22 month old, who seeks refuge in my arms. I can seek refuge in his, too. Thank God for my kids.