Life with my 2 girls sometimes means life with just a bit less of me. Inherent in the reality of the “sandwich generation” is an understanding that sometimes the top slice needs a little more attention than the bottom. This degree of wisdom is not easily nor unilaterally achieved. There’s a transition that occurs over time in support of this new reality whereby the bottom slice is finally able to handle multiple layers on its own – an open-face sandwich of sorts. My teenage girls have done that so beautifully and warmly these last few months.
I like, love and appreciate my two girls for so many reasons, with unconditional understanding of my evolving priorities and direction placing extremely high on that list these days. There’s a selflessness they show in ways that others would not necessarily note. Without surprise to me, it’s not so much what they say or do that has highlighted their enormous capacity for understanding and compassion; it’s what they don’t say, imply or suggest that makes the balancing act an artful challenge rather than an exhausting struggle or losing battle.
The beauty of maturing love is seen and heard so differently and with such greater clarity through the actions and voices of my daughters. Simply overhearing my baby return from school and confirm with our visitor, the man I have adored since I was a little girl, the one who has consistently taken care of any needs or requests, that she’ll be in her room and to get her if he needs anything elicits a feeling of joy that can’t be adequately described. Watching my oldest walk through the door and head directly to him with a smile, greeting and hug that overflows with genuine warmth and concern, I’m nearly moved to tears. Having dinner in a crowded restaurant, the outsider at a table of three, I observe the hilarious interaction between the silly young one to whom I gave birth and the silly older one from whom birth was given, recognizing how much that laughter is needed by her this day, nearly as much as the food and water. There is no option but to join in the infectious and comedic insanity of the conversation.
With pride I can firmly establish that through these months, there have been no complaints when the environment is changed or altered, no arguments, denials or attempts to bargain, no sad faces in response to a request or decision…and the pinnacle of all potential reactions…no lavishly poured out guilt about any real or perceived impact. No guilt at all in fact. It is such an overwhelming experience to watch your children ascend to a position of greater maturity, recognizing that the needs of others, especially elders, will often supersede their own.
There have been and will continue to be moments that necessitate my absence. Without fail, my beautiful teenage daughters will confirm that His love, mercy and compassion reside in their hearts…but not guilt. To God be the glory.