As parents watching our children grow up, we hold on to every thread. The days that seemed to stretch endlessly are now counted, as slowly slipping moments to hold them close. To keep them safe, protected from a world we know will never love them as much as we do.
We love from a place so deep, there is no light.
It is a vulnerable thing to love like that, knowing what you give away might never come back.
I suppose loving something means we risk losing ourselves. Like every man’s death diminishes a person, every love does, too.
For Mother’s Day, Jake and Eli made me votives and took me to lunch at the Cat Cafe. A real Vienna cafe except with cats, and vanilla kittens on the menu.
I could forgive that it smelled a little like a litter box because having tea with cats is so enchanting! They roamed around, fluffy and super fat, and made us miss our Gussy. It’s nice to have something to give your heart to. Loving something makes you feel alive.
These days when I’m home in the kitchen, I don’t want to turn on a Podcast or listen to the news, because I might miss hearing their voices. Jake is pretty smooth tempered working on his lights and sound system, only breaking down when he loses things or can’t find his power cords. We call him Mad Cat and give him a peanut butter cup, and then he’s usually okay.
Eli bursts through the door after school “starving!” and mows through a bag of microwave popcorn. Then he settles into homework and gazing at his trains, and whatever happens to be outside the window. He daydreams, doodling cartoons on magazines and scraps of paper, and inhales entire cucumbers. Neither of them ever pick up their socks.
And always the Votiv Kirche is looking through our window, over leafy courtyards and red rooftops, into our living room. We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’m aware of my Vienna slipping, too.
This routine, this apartment, this life; these are all things I’m not ready to stop loving yet. I wonder if instead of diminishing us, loving something outside of ourselves is the secret to eternal life?
Like a singularity that ripples forward, as immense as it is invisible, or a bell that tolls and spreads forever as it wastes itself away.
The risk of loving is always the loss, unless we realize we are just conduits for energy that was never ours to begin with. Spending it, and wasting it, may be the only way to stay alive.