The road home flickers with fireflies, a canopy of old hardwoods overhead. This is the last night I will teach our monthly parenting class. It was a poignant one: three couples came together, a college student father and his mother, several single parents. They all had questions and a few of them even said thank you. My favorite teachers were there: Brady Mikusko, my own coach, and Siri Gottlieb, the first friend I made in Ann Arbor.
I won’t be teaching the class anymore because we take a month’s hiatus in August, and then I will move from the Friend of Court to Probate Court, where I have been asked to serve as Register. I didn’t apply for the job, I went up there to help out and they wooed me. It was very gratifying to be wanted and appreciated, and finally they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I will miss my colleagues at the Friend. I will miss the gratifying moments when I actually felt I got through to parents and maybe made the lives of their children a bit easier. In my two years with the Friend, I have had many of those moments.
Ben was asleep by the time I got home, Miss Patti having fed him, bathed him and gotten him into his jammies. All I can do is climb the ladder to the top bunk and kiss him once before I sleep. I think of how much he loves fireflies, and how his life is filled with joy. The other day, I thanked him for making me a mommy. “I built you?” he asks.
So much rides on how we are built, and by whom, and with what love. How we are knit in the womb begins it, and so much more follows: the building continues until the last day we breathe and our lights flicker out. The fireflies seeking love flash in the leaves, my son breathes softly in his bunk, Lily lies sighing and dreaming at my feet, a vase full of brown-eyed susans graces our table. Our life of ease is so good, joyful, and still I worry about building it right, making the right choices for Ben, doing right by him.
In the end, it’s all that matters at all.