now what?

He was about 3 years old.  Playing on a short concrete wall at a local festival this afternoon.  Sky blue shorts – which no older boy would be caught dead in – and a matching print shirt.  Dad was watching close by, doing a good job balancing the need to let his child explore while maintaining situational awareness.  Knowing that a microsecond of inattention could lead to a multitude of problems…

Slapping me upside the head was the memory.  Taking my young creatures out to festivals, hauling their tired asses around in a wagon.  Watching parades.  Eating shit food at the amusement park, while they got sticky-gooey goodness all over their hands, faces and anything unfortunate enough to be within splash range.  Giving them the requisite ‘spit bath’ before throwing them back in the car…

There was clarity and focus then.  Every decision i made had to be weighed against potential impact to my children.  Not a formal process, just something my mind did naturally.  Often, the answer was “no impact, rock on…”, but there was a natural step in my decision calculus to assess how it might affect the kids.

i knew my purpose.  i knew my priorities.  And when necessary?  Nothing got between Momma Bear and her Cubs.  It made me stronger in so many ways.  More fearless.  More assertive.  i grew a great deal during those years…

Now?  With The Girl, at 22, graduated and seeking employment, even though she’s temporarily lodged in my basement, she does her own thing, and i do mine.  The Boy returns to the university in a couple weeks, and is pretty much on his own.  Our time together is different.  Very enjoyable, but the relationships have changed.

Seeing the little critter today, perhaps more so, watching his father… i realized that some of my aimlessness and restlessness could be directly attributable to the simple fact that no one needs me.  Not a single soul is dependent upon me for much of anything…  A thought that is simultaneously liberating and terrifying.