It was one of those moments. The kind where you knew why it was important. The kind that counterbalances darkness and sadness and apathy. The kind that doesn’t surprise you when it comes because its approach is deliberate, inevitable as endings tend to be, and you had seen each step. Each significant, resonant step had brought you along, showing you the way and reminding you that you might not think you know shit now, but you will. Follow me and you will. So you did and maybe you still don’t know shit, but you know more. And you became comfortable with the whole shit-knowing paradox.
The more I know, the more I know I don’t know. Or something like that.
You weren’t sure of when the last step would be, but you knew it would come. And you knew you would be ready, but also, you wouldn’t.
And then, when it did come, you cried because each of those steps along the journey to that moment that took years to reach ran through you. You got to see each one again and live it and feel it and remember why so many of those steps felt wrong and ached. You got to see again that they ached because lessons do if they are good ones and then they give way to clarity. If there is one thing that parenthood often lacks, it’s clarity. But it is fat with good lessons.
You cried, too, because you were standing in front of this person who gave you clarity and acceptance and permission to be imperfect and you were trying to somehow verbalize that you knew what they had done for you. One sentence to convey the mass of gratitude that you felt because you knew that was all you would be able to get out before your voice collapsed under the weight of demonstrative sincerity. You barely even got that sentence out.
In that moment, trembling words and tears and all, there was a part of you wishing your girls were just a little bit older so as to be able to know this moment with you. Not that they needed to conjure some poignant speech of their own or even cry (though, they are genetically predisposed to do so), but just to know that this all happened. For the connection. For the lesson. For the memory. That wasn’t how it was supposed to be, though. What you learned was beyond their grasp and wasn’t theirs to learn, not until they are parents themselves. It was for you. It was for you for them, you know?
And now the moment has passed and you get to sit with it, watching all of those years leading to it stack up in your mind as you write. You may wonder where you would be without that friend, but you never need to know. The universe doesn’t work that way. Not always do you know what you’re ready for or who the people are that you need, but sometimes – sometimes – those answers rush in at the same time. If you’re paying attention, you just might get to experience another one of those moments.