Families bonds can be strong or fragile. I'm not sure what makes them that way.
I've been thinking a lot about that lately. I am not sure what it is that makes my own bonds with my children feel tentative and fragile. I know that I love them.
They are adults now. Cara graduated with her master's degree. Her dream job will take her to Kabul, Afghanistan, but she has a other more certain options that will keep her closer to home.
I have learned to be silent. I remember after Dylan graduated college, recruiters came around to the college, offering huge money to be part of the rebuild in Iraq. It was the time of the public beheadings, and after researching the under reported civilian casualties, I am ashamed to say that I pleaded with him not to go. I also cried. He did not go. Sometimes he talks about that, and the shame comes again. It was not my decision.
This time, mindful of the past, I say one thing to Cara: "You do realize that this is a job that will make you a target of the Taliban?" She tells me about armored vehicles and armed guards. This does not make me feel better, but I say nothing more. It is not my choice and the strongest family bonds will stretch, even to Afghanistan.
Dylan gets married in a few weeks. Family ties have stretched wide to welcome a new member, a lovely woman. I find myself tongue tied and uncertain sometimes, excited about their life and plans, afraid to step too far into unless I be seen as meddling or troublesome.
I have two large pots outside, right now, planted with ferns and white calla lilies, one for each side of the trellis we bought for a wedding present, the one that they will take their vows under. I like the idea that this will go home with them, and for years afterwards, they can look out into their expansive backyard and see it, and remember their special day. The lilies can go on either side of the front porch maybe, or at each side of the garage doors. I don't know.
But I study the shoots every day, willing them to grow faster, and taller. They've only got a month to become flowers. I hope they'll be blooming by then, because I need them to carry a message to my children, to silently whisper: "I love you. I wish every good thing for you."