It’s late afternoon, and I’m crying in a bubble bath.
I arrived home from work and a doctor’s appointment with my oldest daughter, Sarah, to discover that my youngest daughter, Kate–not even 13 years old–made our dinner (her speciality: veggie enchiladas and Spanish rice). I stood in the kitchen as Sarah went to play piano for the pure joy of it and Kate put the finishing touches on dinner.
Well then. Shall I go relax somewhere?
So I went to relax in a bubble bath like a queen. I cried tears of happiness for so many things: for years of piano lessons that paid off, for children that grow up to make dinner, and for the truth that I never would have believed you if you told me that one day it would be like this.
One day, you’ll hardly remember the enduring of sleepless nights, the wrangling of feet to put on socks and shoes, and the feeling of endless afternoons. You’ll barely recall vacuuming crumbs from carseats, searching for lost library books, and later, classroom Valentine’s parties.
One day, you’ll find yourself taking a bath in the late afternoon, crying over this long task of parenting that basically killed the old you and birthed a parent that grew up right alongside the children. And you’ll soak in the bubbles, listening to piano music and smelling the warmth of a dinner you didn’t bake.
You’ll still set out Valentines of nail polish and teenage accessories–because you’ll always be that kind of parent–but you’ll send them off into their day, truly released in love.