This past weekend, I and my eldest daughter and her 3 year old son drove down to Mobile to visit with my other daughter and her 3 year old daughter. This was the first time all of "us girls" had been together since my son's wedding. (Who, by the way, has grown into a wonderful young man.) So much has happened to all of us during those years. We went to the Botanical Garden early one morning and it was beautiful. Then, when we were all tired and the kids were ready for a change, we got them milkshakes and took them to the kiddie park. I was hot and tired, so I sat at a table in a pavilion to keep out of the sun while my daughters supervised their children.
I watched my children push their children on the swings and remembered when it was I pushing them both on other swings. Then, not for the first time this weekend, I realize how superfluous I am. I married, bore children, raised them, and sent them off as young adults to navigate as best they can the rough waters of this river of life; and I hoped I had given them all the tools they needed.
I am so proud of these young women whom I hardly know. It feels so odd to be the one on the sidelines basically taking up space. I'm used to being the one in charge and responsible for all the mundane details that are so necessary. Now I watch my daughters performing the tasks I had always considered my own particular responsibility. And I feel superfluous. Nature is finished with me, and I am a hanger-on whose purpose and usefulness is over. This is such a strange stage of life; but I am tired--emotionally and physically tired--and I am ready, even grateful, for this superfluity.