I sit on the porch, basking in the sun as the laughter of children surrounds me. It’s a Sunday morning, and my daughter has swung by to hang out with her old mother for some time, though I suspect part of it has to do with having a helping hand in taking care of three rambunctious children.
I look into the yard, where the two boys are prodding ants and my granddaughter is climbing the tree. Well, attempting to.
Her mother calls, “Be careful, honey! Play with your brothers instead, how about that?” The little girl just giggles and places a firm foot on the lower branch. My daughter sighs and looks over at me with a look I know too well.
“Don’t look at me like that,” I laugh. “You used to try and do all sorts of things too, you know. Gave me a number of heart attacks.”
“Really? I always thought I was an angel- remember that time I got the responsibility award in elementary?” She jokes back.
“I also remember all those times you cried to me about late assignments you swore you didn’t know about until the day of.”
“I still ended up getting that degree, didn’t I? And those kids are turning out alright.” She laughs and surveys across the yard, not to jinx herself.
“True,” I reply distantly. “Funny to think the same baby that cried whenever I left the room has a family and a career.”
She looks at me, somewhat bemused. “Getting all sappy?” She pauses. “It’s all thanks to you and dad, really. You guys put up with me all those years, after all.”
She glances back out and I follow her gaze to where, tree-climbing dreams forgotten, the three are now chasing each other across the yard. In a memory that arises from what felt like yesterday, I see my own young daughter playing with her siblings in this very same yard.
I turn but it’s her, a mother, a woman next to me. “Sometimes I wish you never grew up.”
“I’m proud of you.”