Here And Gone

Our kids were here.

There's something so undeniably mature about that sentence.

"Our" being an operative word, in that Eric and I both have daughters, meaning we both have at this point full and lengthy pasts.

"Kids" is what I kept referring to them as. First jokingly, then not so. We were, after all, the oldest people in the house. So what does that make us?

"Were" in that they have lives of their own, and other places to go back to.

"Here" as we thankfully have somewhere they can come to.

It was like a miracle, having them visit, because we actually ate meals at the table, went on outings, and got to bed before midnight (one night, anyway) for the first time in months. We were transformed into grownups, and it was lovely. We got groceries, doled out advice, and a little bit of money, but how can it ever be enough? I've fought being an adult for years, but having a nearly grown up child makes it not the drag I thought it would be.

I thought it meant ordering sweat pants and turtlenecks from the Lands End catalog. And sitting in those chairs with footrests attached. Knowing all kinds of recipes. Paying more attention to window treatments. With possibly a little light shoplifting thrown in.

I didn't know that those almost impossibly joyful moments you get sometimes with your child could increase in proportion to the years and experiences they have in this world. At the same time, the stress of wanting everything to turn out right for them is almost unbearable at times.

But overall there is so much to enjoy with a grown up kid. Seeing what she wears, hearing what she thinks, about anything. Just being around her. With Eric's daughter too, and her boyfriend. Youth is all it's cracked up to be, isn't it, even if it is someone else's job now. I am definitely in transition - I think the best thing to aspire to at this point is crone-dom. At least then I'll have some helpful insights to offer.

So now it's back to eating whatever, wherever and Play Misty For Me at 2 AM. But if the occasion arrives I know we can crank up that maturity machine, like a time machine in reverse, that puts us in some temporary position of wisdom and authority. Then, when the kids leave, it's back to being clueless as usual.