Trillions of tiny slivers of tenderness, billions of smatterings of care and affection, the number is endless. Infinity minus one some may say. And in equal abundance are joy, worry and respect, and an ease of the easiest of friendships.
All swirl free in a bottomless vessel of emotion and adoration, sometimes erupting without restrain and sometimes fighting uncontrollable and unreasonable and spiked with splintering shards that inflict lashings of pain. It’s the kind of pain that can’t be touched or pinpointed to a source, an ache that comes from the deepest of cores to transcend all other aches and that stretch into forever.
But oh the joy … oozing in shine and comfort, the greatest sprouting, boundless, endless, lasting, enriching, joy of joys. It comes with sacrifice and compromise, of tears that are often invisible and can turn red to bleed and weep from that same core buried in a secret garden.
And then there’s the toughest of all, of watching one’s own endure their personal challenges and pain, children that once were dependant babies are now individuals with their own battles.
Watching one of mine struggle these last weeks has spurred that ache to sting sharp from the pits of that secret garden. The study and assessments as he prepares to take on university grind him hard, as the old draught horse pulling a stone wheel to crush rocks in search of gold.
He lugs his wheel against the pull of needing to lead a balanced life with playing football and seeing friends. He struggles in the tumult of guilt where every second should be spent working and even on the rare occasion of being out with friends, he’s thinking about his studies and what he should be working on next.
And so has begun his foray into adulthood, of pressure that mounts, of stress and balancing his sea-saw life.
This is on top of losing his dear grandmother to a terminal illness and me dealing with my cancer scare. His grief and worry and coping with all that, and then playing catch up from falling behind.
My mettle is being tested watching him, but my own six-foot little guy is emerging with his own mettle tested and toughened. I can see already, his maturity soaring. My draught horse will find his gold as his wheel grinds, drawing on that same courage, inner strength and motivation horses represent.
Life’s tough. No news flash there. Watching our own children toughen it out, I don’t know a word to describe that. Perhaps it’s a mother’s love, a father’s love too I imagine.