Choosing Love in These Broken Days

Children are a wonderful gift…they have an extraordinary capacity to see into the heart of things.—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

There is nothing I miss more than you when you are away. I keep thinking this will ease as you age, as we turn over each week, month, year to pattern: 72 hours, the clothes on your back, hugs and a dozen goodbyes. There are six days a month my stomach and tears turn over at the thought of your absence from our lives. I try to tell myself six days are few, and that disjointed Saturdays and Sundays are complicated for many reasons. But inevitably my thoughts, the unyielding guilt, stay fixed on the lack of your choices, the effect those naïve, foolish adult narratives of my youth have on your young life today.

I have since walked away from the screams and scars of a painful past, but you live it everyday as anxiety bubbles up in your belly or pulsates in your head. I worry about what this does to you, the tossing of your young life back and forth, about the decisions we made when we were young that have painful consequences wrapped up in the pressed collar we send back and forth on your shoulders.

After three days you come back home with the smell of resilience on your sleeve, though it is peppered stale, smoke-filled, sad and angry. When you return, I clean your clothes, offer hugs and time, but have no words I can offer to rewrite this place we’ve found ourselves in. I admire you and your capacity to love, to forgive. I learn from it, live by it. You are far too young to accept there is little love can do with these broken days, somehow wise enough to settle for moments of grace while you choose to love anyway.

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Categories: Parenting, Writing

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