It’s breakfast time.
Chocolate milk is stirred, bananas are shared, almonds are complained about.
Last night’s dishes overflow the right side of the sink. In my mind they’re “organized” and not “undone”.
My children’s chatter whisps by me as I fit Mason jars and silver spoons, a baking dish, and a grill pan side by side.
I note the stories my kids are telling about forgotten math work sheets, the best chapter book ever, necessary sneakers, and again with the unwanted almonds.
I pause, wondering about the holes in their stories that I can’t ever seem to fill.
My heart hurts in the good way that means I’m letting go like everyone insists I’m supposed to.
In one of those early days when Kayli was small and Chloe was impossible and Brody was a mere thought in my mind, another mother –- one with older children and years of experience and the kind of knowing that sat deep in her cocoa colored eyes – told me to parent my heart out now because all of a sudden all you’ll be able to do is cross your fingers that you did a good job then.
This struck me then because I was tired and I was parenting all the time. Do this, not that, say please, be nice.
And it strikes me now, in a disbelieving sort of way, and I wonder if I’ve reached that time this mother was talking about; when my fingers are no longer laced with theirs more often than not.
I brush this thought away as Kayli brings up her dishes. She rinses and loads them. She’s still chatting about that book, that math sheet, those almonds.
“So if you feel like it’s a Dunker Day… “ she’s saying. I tilt my head her way wondering what she’s saying.
And then she smiles that sweet smile that (thankfully) matches the three-year-old version that I saw when I was told to parent big and let go bigger. It’s then that I realize she’s inviting me to have lunch with her – her favorite lunch at school, Italian Dunkers.
And I accept this invitation in two ways.
Yes, I’ll come have Italian Dunkers with you because I want to and I’m honored that you asked me.
And yes, I’ll keep parenting you because I want to and I’m honored that, this too, you’re asking me to do.
Parent big and let go bigger, yes.
But find the (new) ways to hold on, to be there, to say yes.