When I drop Max off at school lately he has taken to asking me, “When will I see you again?”.  He asks with an urgency that is heartbreaking.

Not that long ago, he would beg me to drop him off at the curbside, let him walk into the school and find his way to his classroom.  Now he wants me to walk him all the way to his teacher, hug him twice, kiss him and answer his question with specifics.  He needs to know.

I have wondered why this sudden change…worried about it really.  After all isn’t he supposed to be moving in a straight, linear path toward independence?  Isn’t he?  Or is it more like a spiral, a rising and falling, a cycle, a coming and going…

This fall, we have had some disruption in our life, in our routine.  Max has had to face cancer, see it on the worried faces of our loved ones, feel it in the absence of his Nana.  Every day there is a different schedule, a patchwork of makeshift solutions.  There is a lot of spinning, no wonder he wants to hold on tight.

But I also wonder how much of it is simply the rhythm of growing up, the venturing out to come running home again.  I wonder how much of it is that he has grown so big so fast that he needs to retreat and find his footing.  He needs to anchor himself in the everlovin’ arms of mama.

I find myself drawn to this rhythm, this cycle, this venturing out in the world only to return to that which we know is true and safe.  That it is the coming home again that makes it possible to set out again.    We are always in movement, sometimes forward and sometimes back again.  I guess the biggest mistake I ever made was thinking that it was all forward motion.  Its circular around and about, a walk into the center of ourselves, to the heart of the matter, to our centers and out again.  Round and round.

This week I discovered a small labyrinth only two blocks from my office.  In the bitter cold I have gone and walked around and around, following the winding path, before ending at the center and then turning to walk back out again.   I have been all by myself in the quiet, the rose garden bare, the wind brutal.  But I go nevertheless.  Its an exercise in coming home I suppose, in riding the cycles–the giving and receiving, the coming and the going and the coming back again.    It is grounding and it quiets the voice inside me, the one that wants to plaintively cry out, “When you will come back again?”

I know before long, my little one will be off on his own again.  Filled up with love, strengthened and secure he will set out again to explore, to be his own person.  He will roll his eyes when he sees me coming.  He will stop asking when I will return.  I may feel worried in a new way then I suppose until I remember its all just one big spiral, one cycle, and the expansion will one day contract again anew.

3 Responses to “Coming Back Again”

  1. Trish Says:

    I find myself following this same path…squirreling away indoors with my boy closing out the world and retreating from chaos of everyday life…Monday begins a new chapter for me…I’ve accepted a job that I’ll work three days in Boston, two days a home…I’m not sure how to feel…I’m sure I’ll be nervous just not in this moment…Home, however this is defined for us allows us to sink into our authentic skins and fortify us to walk the labryinths, sidewalks, take the stairs or the elevators to the outside elements that beckon us and then once again retreat inside our sweet, nestled cocoons of ‘home’ that always replenish, renew, restore us for the next chapter.

    My love to you for A-L-W-A-Y-S speaking a truth I learn from.

    Trish
    patriciadolan@comcast.net

  2. Karen Maezen Miller Says:

    So truly observed. There is always this retrograde before the appearance (because it is all only appearance) of forward motion. I love that you see it as a circle, a cycle, all one motion in every direction, continuously. Such is life.

  3. jennifer ballantyne Says:

    So wise as always my Meg. Beautifully written. Love you, Jen xxx.