Mommas with Middle-Aged Children

Revised, From an assignment in 2006

She walks up my front steps and my heart races.

“It’s so good to see you,” I grab her up in a giddy embrace. Electricity flashes through me reminiscent of a school girl’s crush, but it’s deeper than that. It’s our souls reconnecting, if only briefly.

“I remember you,” they seem to say to each other. We do not rush to pull away just yet. Our twenty-something year history flashes through us in a nano-second. Without recanting every detail, our spirits silently acknowledge the posts.  We were newly marrieds when we first met. A few years later, she was a new mother and I was pregnant when our husbands went to war. We cleaved to one another almost like spouses. Oh, how we understood the other’s fears, frustrations, and loneliness.

Our five kids, born close like stair steps between our two families, have known each other since they were zygotes.  We mammas would run up phone bills exchanging remedies for teething woes and diaper rash, and daydreaming how not to how to lose our woman-selves in the midst of being wives and mothers.

It was her idea that we escape to the Norwich Spa. She was insistent. Our men could deal with the drool for twenty-four hours as we replenished ourselves in the swirling hot tubs after our massages.  She picked me up and we didn’t look back for a whole twenty-four hours.

Through the years, we celebrated holidays and took camping trips as families. Our kids grew closer than cousins. Now with lives so busy with work and multiple kid activities, we don’t see each other very often. Though we live only fourteen and a half miles apart, we might as well orbit in separate solar systems. On rare occasions we catch each other by phone at home.

So it feels like worship standing with her in my foyer. But if  I don’t physically disengage soon, I might start crying.

“Come on up! The coffee’s on!” I pull away and we walk up the split level stairs. She strolls over to my kitchen table and out of habit, takes her usual seat. I pour our coffee and remember her fickleness for sweetening it. “Two teaspoons of sugar, or just one and a skoach?” She smiles and holds up two fingers. We catch up with family news, our jobs, and our husbands. One cup of coffee leads to two, and then we finish off the pot. After what seems like minutes, but is really two and half hours, she says she has to leave. “Gotta pick a kid up from driver’s school.”

Suddenly, I am a desperate junky. “But you just got here!” I feebly suggest a road trip. “The Spa?” She gets that familiar, faraway look, but snaps back. “When? There’s soccer, and guitar lessons, and horseback riding…”

“Yeah. There’s basketball and volleyball,” I counter.

“Some day,” we sigh.  Our souls lament as we hug goodbye.

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