The long, liquid light of the June solstice illuminates the bittersweet season of the closing days of mothering two daughters, in an intact home, where I tuck them in each night, and coax them into the day each darkened morning.
Bitter, and sweet. This week, I noticed a title on the bookmobile shelf—Parenting Your Emerging Adult—and plucked it down, adding it to my stack of entertaining and enlightening loan materials. It is dense, and daunting, and clearly can’t begin to address the welter of feelings and challenges that fill my heart.
The day before, I had stated my two intentions for this last, languid summer to my emerging adult child: I want to get you ready in every way we can for the adventure ahead, half a continent away. And, I want us both to conduct ourselves in such a way that when the summer is over, we aren’t both filled with relief at parting, and with regret for the summer we didn’t have.
All along, I have tried hard, almost every day, to parent with intention, to make meaning in the spaces between the unending chores of parenting, homekeeping, partnering my spouse. I’ve tried to have conversations with my girls that held real content, communicated deep values and ideas, and in recent years, that communicate more of my real, non-mother individual self, as best as I can recall her, to my children than I feel I gleaned from my own mother.
It has been exhausting and exhilarating work. I hear many parents looking forward to the lightening of the load, the easing of the endless round of family-tending, but the long light of this June makes me yearn to travel back to a solstice 19 years ago, a long evening spent poolside in the tropical heat of St. Maarten, where we waited for it all to begin.
June 20, 2014
Mary for The Poplar Grove Muse