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Motherhood and Wistfulness

The current farm feeling is one of urgency and time passing too quickly.

The cold, late, and even snowy spring left us behind in the fields. It has been challenging to work the ground because of wet conditions. And the slow-warming soil hindered seeds like carrots and beets from germinating in a timely fashion. They are up now, but it feels more like the calendar should be on April, not May!

However, more on time, our Australian Shepherd Pixie had her first litter of pups (dad is our Border Collie Dash) just as expected. The pile of seven plump, wriggling, mewling puppies are healthy and adorable, and Pixie's mothering instincts are strong.

Her restlessness on delivery day brought forth a strong sense of recognition from me as birth became imminent. As I watched this transition to motherhood, I knew this experience would change her more than she ever thought possible. (Yes, she's a dog and probably isn't concerned with the future, but I empathized anyway.)

While it can be fraught with worry, anxiousness, overwhelming responsibility, and even disappointment, motherhood can also be filled with intense love, satisfaction, and joy. I'm not sure how much of all that Pixie will experience, but I envy her being at the beginning of it with her dependent pups nestled by her teats while my scale has tipped. The days of my brood of three safe and sound (well, as much as can be expected on a working farm) at home are limited.

I know, I know - once a mother always a mother - the mixed bag of emotions won't go away, but it has changed, and I feel wistful for what once was. My body yearns for the weight of one of my kids in it's rightful place on my left hip. I long for the chubby fingers reaching for me and the tenderness that overwhelmed me when I kissed the tops of their sweet sweaty heads after a day of playing outside. (I certainly can't call their sweat sweet anymore!)

From this vantage point I realize those were the days when I could meet all their needs, and that was intensely satisfying.

Liam, Aidan, and Marlee are all taller than I am now and capable of fully expressing and acting on their own opinions even when I'd rather not listen! Their needs have become both more individual and more complicated. I can suggest possibilities, offer other viewpoints, and just listen, but it is rare that I can quickly solve an issue they are wrestling with unless it relates to dinner. Thankfully they have also become resourceful and are navigating the transition to independence well, which is no small feat, but . . . sometimes I miss their dependence on me.

Marlee's culminating her study of the Hogwarts Houses by making wands representing each one.

The truth is I'm the one who isn't ready for this. I was so busy "growing" them, I didn't realize how much they were "growing" me. I selfishly want to shout, "Do-over! Do-over!" I want another chance to etch each moment into my memory. I want to revel in the wonder of their childhood while experiencing my own change.

But I may be asking too much - just like I can't speed up the growth of the vegetables in our fields - I can't slow down the time when Liam, Aidan, and Marlee will want to leave my side.

The best I can do is accept that all I can do is be present now while I appreciate the anticipation of both our tasty vegetables to come and evolving relationships with our adult children.

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