I have several (and I mean several- there must be romance in the air) friends who are pregnant or rejoicing over brand new babies right now. There is the whiff of baby powder, the sound of squeals, the ever-constant sway that all women adopt as soon as a baby is in their arms. (We probably look like we just landed on shore after a treacherous crossing and haven't gotten our land legs yet.) And all these bundled blessings got me thinking of something- my lost years.
The years I might as well sailed straight over the side of the earth for all the good I was to anyone.
Writing? I'm laughing just writing that. I was making people! If I remembered to pull on a shirt in the morning I was doing great. Babies shrink our worlds. All those things we wanted to do- yeah, I'm laughing again.
Just like a caterpillar we stop exploring the leaves of life and curl up into ourselves.
And then it gets dark.
We wonder if we are really there at all because all of a sudden our college degrees and the books we've read and our clever witticisms are reduced to burp rags and baby lotion.
We used to command a room and now we are at the beck and call of a tiny tyrant who doesn't care if we sleep or are sick or need an adult conversation.
We almost disappear, glued to one spot, hidden in the shadows.
(I know- you just really want to have another baby now, right?)
But I'm not finished.
Just like that caterpillar who gave up everything to spin that tiny little home, we give up everything to make a home for our new family.
And just when we think we will never return to our former life, we see that we are right. There's no going back.
Because when we stretch out and reach for light and life and conversation again, we find these fragile wings unfurling.
And all those lost years- the ones where I cried because I knew I would never be a real person again- I shouldn't have been so frightened.
I wasn't dying. I wasn't hiding. I wasn't lost.
I was growing wings.
I was raising my best friends.
I was getting ready to fly.