Sometimes I feel trapped.
By my children.
That’s horrible to say.
But I say it because, maybe, sometimes, you feel it too?
Sometimes I feel trapped just by the fact that they are children and they are mine.
Trapped by their big brown eyes. By her little girl voice and the pitch it can reach when she wants something. Trapped by his impish toddler grin and the speed with which it devolves into tears.
Sometimes their little fingers wrap themselves around my thumb and they hold so tightly. They can hide my entire thumb in their little hands and I miss that thumb. I miss the days when it was mine and mine alone and I could always see it.
Sometimes their little arms wrap around my legs like vines. They hold me in place. Grounding me here. I can’t move. I want to grow and reach towards the sun and gather the clouds in my arms and then soar among the birds. But I can’t. I’m tied down. Here. Solidly on the ground.
Sometimes they throw their little bodies on top of mine. They are slight little bodies but oh so very heavy with the weight of their needs and wants and wishes and dreams. They pin me down and they keep me in one place.
Sometimes I feel trapped all day long.
And when I reach the end of the day and I’ve finally broken the circles of children’s fingers around my thumbs and pinned those little bodies into their own little beds, I sit. And that’s when the cats come. They try to take their place. My lap now empty, my hands now free. They want some of me too.
But I toss them off because this is my time. This precious hour is mine to lay unattached, free to fly and soar and grow. Except that the hour is late. And I am still trapped. I am trapped by exhaustion and emotion and the long list of to dos that just can’t be done when I’m bound by little arms and fingers and bodies.
Sometimes I feel trapped.
Sometimes I want to do things. I want to go to a coffee shop to drink coffee and read a book on a Sunday morning. I want to travel to a far away land on an adventure that doesn’t require lugging those little bodies and all of their snacks and cups and bottles and things. I want to wash, dry, and fold one load of laundry all between one sunrise and one sunset.
These are the things I would do. If I wasn’t trapped.
So I look around for a way out. I want to find an exit. And that’s when it happens. That’s when it always happens. That’s when she uses her little girl voice to tell me she loves me and I want to trap her in my arms and never let her go. That’s when his impish toddler grin emits a series of rolling giggles and I want to ride that wave forever. That’s when I realize I made this trap. I walked in willingly.
That’s when I find that, because of them, I’ve grown so tall and reached so much. Through the fingers and vines I see my hands reaching out, grabbing armfuls of clouds. I look around and see that, with them, I am soaring with the birds.
With them and for them and because of them I’ve grown more in five years than I would have in my entire long life without them. I’ve accomplished things. In spite of myself, sometimes in spite of them, but always because of them, I’ve done things. I’ve dreamed dreams and made things happen. I’ve made them happen. And they’ve made me happen.
Yes, I feel lucky that they are children, and they are mine.
I give thanks, over and over and over again, for the ways in which they have changed me. Made me. I love this me.
And this person. This me I love so much. She is here. In this place. And it’s all because of them.