Sometimes I find myself assailed with waves of grief that I am unable to have more children. The premature absence of babies in my home is a cross I will bear until the good Lord calls me home. Sometimes, it’s a whisper of a grief that I can ignore and smile through. Other times, like earlier this week, it feels like being caught in a rip tide and that I will surely drown before it lets me go.

I remember when my children, spaced pretty close together, were much smaller. When my husband was deployed during that time, I yearned for conversation and wondered if it would be easier to navigate the isolation if I had older children to talk to. It wasn’t that I lamented having babies in the house. I adored it. But those years can be very isolating.

And now. My children are older. The fear of their inevitable flight from my home sometimes weighs heavily on my heart. More so this time of year when I see the graduation pictures and friends’ children flying their proverbial nest. They tell me it’s a both/and. Bitter and sweet. Grief and joy. From where I stand, I fail to see the sweet and joy. Maybe as I get closer it’ll come into focus.

This weekend, I have my two oldest home with me while my husband packs out his mom’s home and locks the door one last time. The younger (crazier) two are with him in Houston (I assure you he’s probably attaining eternal life sooner than me). It’s been quiet, intentional time with them. These two precious girls who are teetering on the edge between so much. The time has been so precious.

This morning, we made a breakfast spread fit for queens. Coffee, foamy milk, bacon, eggs, homemade hashbrowns. We pulled out the china and we sat at the table for an hour and just talked. It was so good. It was sweet, and deep, and beautiful. The conversation twisted and turned, detoured and jumped. I loved every second of it.

And I thought to myself, it’s a both/and. I desperately miss their chubby cheeks and tiny curls. I miss their baby voices and tiny cuddles. But wow, getting to this phase where I have the privilege of getting to know them on this level is incredible. Hearing their differences in personality, their fears and joys, heartaches, worries, and dreams fills me with joy. I feel deeply honored and undeserving of this.

So maybe it’s starting to come into focus. Maybe, on a really basic level, I get it. It’s hard as they grow and start to spread their wings. But I get to have these incredibly deep relationships with some amazing people that are mine. And I get to watch them live their dreams and fly.

One day. They can fly one day. Today, we sit in the nest and peer out cautiously. And then turn back to each other and talk about the beautiful things we glimpsed. And we nestle in to one another.

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