‘You and me babe,’ my husband would say with a smile as we approached each bump or turn in the road. It gave us a grounding reminder that we were facing whatever it was together. It might’ve been in reference to a battle before us in an ‘us against the world’ sense, or a reassurance that though others disappointed us or dreams fell short, we still had each other and that was a worthy result. It also has functioned as a triumphant celebratory declaration, that together we had achieved or would achieve something special. This phrase of togetherness has marked our 25+ years in a deep and foundational way and into this space we grew a family from the two of us to the 6 of us and now is in the simultaneous and paradoxical growing and shrinking stage. It’s a strange, glorious, bewildering and wonderful season!
When our kids were younger they’d cup my face with their little podgy hands, study my face for a second and lay a way too wet smooch on me full of love and liquid! We’d walk hand in hand most places and find some kind of balance between our wants and wishes for the day before us. At night I’d walk past bedrooms of sleeping babes and wonder what dreams were being woven through their hearts and minds. Soft curls falling over faces, gentle snores, rockstar poses, angelic faces and the occasional sleep walks made the observations of my journey to bed a sweet one. They are treasures to have and to hold from that day forth!
Through teething, temperatures, tantrums and into teens there has been a constant. At the end of each day, even if the clock had struck beyond 12, and even if it was no longer parents last to bed; all of us found ourselves together; under one roof and known by one name. Like the sun that rises, the clock that continually ticks over, the mercies new every morning; it became a constant that felt like it may endure forever. They changed, grew and developed but we all remained together… we knew it wasn’t forever, but it sure felt like it might be, and that was ok with us!
Then that day you dreamed of with them happens. Those dreams you had as you rocked them to sleep, that they shared as you lay on their unmade teenage bed with them, as you walked along the beach or bush tracks or on any number of drives to and from all the places they needed to go and be. The dependent becomes independent. The child that dreamed and desired, has opportunity to go… and its an opportunity you dreamed with them for… it’s what you raised them to do. They even show doubts and fears about going, but we as parents encourage, cheer, and help them to go. And then they leave. Those under the one roof shrinks.
We have watched them develop relationships with friends constantly coming in and out of our front doors and even bedroom windows. Hearts full and hearts broken. Romance unrequited and also romance that blossoms and grows deep. Dreams of future spouses materialised and known. Wedding dreams, wedding plans and yes, this year our first wedding. Our family is growing in the best possible way. A bonus son that you love like he was always your son grows your family…Even as it shrinks… Even as the roof watches over less and the name changes. It is the greatest heart filling and pure joy that bounces around your heart while a lump of grief catches in your throat.
These are the dreams we dreamed for them coming true. These are the hopes and the prayers being fulfilled. These are our most favourite people transitioning from under our wings to finding their own and soaring into realms of new possibilities. We sit on the couch of an evening we ponder the glorious plans of God outworked in each of their lives and we’re grateful for the two still under our roof, but we sense the winds of change beginning to call them too. We grow and we shrink and though it carries a sense of all being as it should be, there is a nostalgia of both happy and sad that must be acknowledged. Happy tears and sad tears that sometimes come at the same time. So commemorated in this post is my happy sad and the acknowledgment that this is most definitely a, ‘you and me babe,’ kind of moment! When it’s all said and done, it’ll be you and me babe… what a wondrous journey it is!