Children just don't know what they do to us, or better yet maybe I should say they don't know what happens to us because of them. Before I had children I was a bit of an emotional stoic. I very rarely cried, and not because I fought to hold back tears, there were just none to hold back. Then I became a mother.
The tears of a mother are not just connected to pain or injustice or empathy. They come from a place of emotion that has no other name. And in my experience that place is just full and ready to overflow at any given moment and without warning.
In ten days my second son is getting married. Named for his father and so very much like him. Big brown eyed toddler following Joey like a puppy, hesitant to join in on the playground until he eyed up the situation and had it all figured out. Never climbing in my lap to cuddle but wanting/needing me to scoop him up and love him with regularity. Spending hours fishing for the big bass and estimating the length of any fish within a quarter inch. Able to add three digit numbers in his head by the age of six. On road trips, terrified of running out of gas or taking a wrong turn. Serious minded but easily brought to outright silliness by just being around Chet. Dependable in school, on a team, in the family.
When Joey started his first job at the age of 14 I watched him walk down the produce aisle with his boss through a blur of tears. When Keith's turn came I waved him off without a thought. So, being this is the second wedding I should be immune to the "first time" mother emotions. Besides, I've had plenty of time to prepare for this one.
Keith met Nicole seven years ago when they were both fourteen. He "asked her out" five years ago and gave her a ring in April '07. I love Nicole and once joked with Keith that if they broke up he had to find a new family because she was already entrenched in my heart. Four years was a long time to try to keep an emotional distance with a girl that isn't yet guaranteed to join the family.
He was away at college for four years, being adopted by a church family there. He made it home for just the minimum of school holidays and then spent last summer in Georgia adopted again by another family. Add that to a serious girlfriend/fiancee to converse with and confide in and the ties to home have slowly and appropriately been severed. The child-become-adult is fully prepared for independence.
So why is it that as I'm driving through the bank parking lot and Big & Rich's song "Lost in This Moment With You" comes on I can't see where I'm going?