Dec 30, 2013
By Kortnee With-a-K
There’s laughter down the hallway. It’s the sound of boxed macaroni and cheese and mismatched socks left on the floor of the tv room. They giggle. I listen and I remember. Before the halls were empty and there was always too much to fit into the day, I sometimes dreamed of a sink empty of dirty dishes and a front door that didn’t get slammed each time a crowd of bobby pins and pony tails came bursting through.
I always said my favorite day of my daughters’ childhood was the day they learned to tie their own shoes and make their own box of macaroni and cheese. (My second favorite was the day they got potty trained several years earlier.) There are many mothers who crave and enjoy the days of infancy, cradling a helpless baby in their arms, with complete control over all destiny, right down to the jar of mashed peas they’ll be serving for dinner. Me, I have preferred watching my girls grow. Coming to know the answers to the questions I used to wonder about while they slept safely in the crook of my arm. Where will she go to college? What will she look like as she grows up? Who will be her first boyfriend? But mostly, finding out who they become.
Raising children is like putting a cake into an oven. You read the recipe, follow it as best you can, throw in an extra dash of this or that, and hope you get it all right. As I listen to them laugh, I have to admit: I’m amazed. They have turned out so good. Way better than I expected, truth be told. Turns out, the angels I told them about each night at bedtime really WERE there.
The time continues to pass and they continue to grow up. Up, beyond the adult heights I used to wonder about- (one shorter than me, the other passed me sometime around her eighteenth birthday). They grow into their own lives and out into the world. Yes, the halls are quieter now. They’ve gone off to college and they have car keys and recipes of their own. But home they come, right back into my arms, dropping their socks on the floor, begging for a box of mac-n-cheese, and leaving dirty dishes in the sink right where they belong. They rush down the hallway and climb under the covers where they whisper and giggle together.
And I get to listen to two little girls who have grown to be best friends to each other and to me. Yes, I reminisce, get nostalgic over baby pictures and precious memories. But I smile because no matter how much they grow, the laughter will always be the same.