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  • Patty Ihm

Lost, For a Little While



It was easier when I could just carry them. With both the trusted old purple hiking backpack and my Ergo newborn front carrier strapped to my frame, I could rake the leaves from the yard of our house in town without wondering if the babies were okay. They were, I knew, because I held them; I had them in my grasp.


My children are not as predictable as the rhythm of the sun. Of course, we know that development generally follows expected patterns: a baby learns to sit before walking and to babble before stringing words into a sentence, just as the apple blossoms and the dandelion blooms herald the spring in familiar progression. Sometimes, though, it's just not that easy, even in nature. Developmental differences, early childhood trauma, heavy winds, rain, and storms...all can alter the path that we had anticipated.


I know there's something so beautiful, so mystifying, and so full of light beyond the curtain. I know it's there. It's just not very clear. It doesn't make sense. Maybe it never will. Sometimes I wonder if there even is a curtain, or if it's just my own perceptions that make it so hard to see.


As the decades spin past one seemingly endless day at a time, the overgrown toddlers stand, with hairy legs and deep voices, threatening the threshold of adulthood. What is to become of them? What is to become of us?


I am carrying their fears and misgivings as though they were mine...because they are. The old hiking backpack leans without passenger into the attic wall; it can no longer contain what weighs me down. Sometimes they resisted, wanting to break away from what I couldn't see. Sometimes it didn't ended well. I like to think that's because it's not really over.


Even the littlest ones have their moments when they want to "run away," to "live somewhere else." Maybe they want to go back to the house in town. Or maybe, and more likely, they want to run from themselves, from this moment, from what is hard and heavy, if even just for a little while. I don't know how to make it stop...any of it. I still see something through the curtain, though, so I know we are not lost.


Instead of struggling to hold the intangible, to break under the weight of that which is not up to me, I have decided to try to accept that some things are just beyond my understanding; they are not meant for me to know. This realization has made the load just a little lighter.


"He'll find his way."


Those words came from a compassionate friend who sensed the imbalance in my soul. She didn't know of the scorn, the misunderstandings, the tears, the bewilderment, or the time he was shoved to the floor. She did know, though, that I needed to set down my baggage to be able to watch him go to the light. The dandelions will remind me: he will find his way. They will. We all will.




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