You raise your children. Bite your lips at the choices they make as they get on with growing up. Pick them up without judgement after they trip over their mistakes and land in a heap at your feet. Give them a financial leg up on their swagger into adulthood. Lend them your ears and your re-assuring nods that speak a thousand hugs. And when they’ve made it past the post of independence, you help them help themselves to raise their own children.
But when the love between their parents breaks down, you pick the children big and small up again, steady as the touchstone and the rare source of surety they have left . You turn the other cheek from the verbal slaps dispensed with venomous hurt and anger from their significant other. Continue to provide their children with a place of sanctuary from the maelstrom of torment from a marriage that’s never done collapsing.
And though unsteadier on your feet now, the years yielding to all the attendant ailments of growing old that usher you onward to the end of your decade; and while steely in your resolve to keep your home a haven; and willing though you are to look the other way as you take the bruisings in dignified silence, the gradual exclusion of your love from their lives and the latest mounting of barriers around communion and confirmation tables can only cause a hurt that can’t speak its name because you don’t know what the words are.
Do it all again, you would, all the while surrendering to the uncertainties of life. Even in the winter of your days.