How do you pack your bags for forever? I don't think there is a way. If someone asked me to, I'd forget something. I'd look down at my hands, so dry and tired, and think: "I forgot lotion." Forever feels so long. My mind couldn't conceive of forever. It couldn't, that is, until I had children. When I was pregnant with them I felt like the pregnancy would be forever. I would ask for my swollen feet to be rubbed. I would look at the date. The day felt unchanging. June, March, and July: forever months. It took forever for them to arrive. Forever to put them to sleep. Forever to nurse them. Forever.
In truth none of those moments were forever. Each moment was a blink, a dash, a quick exhale of life. Now they are here, two toddlers and one six year old. Tomorrow they will be leaving the nest, I am sure, because they won't be young forever. They won't fold into my lap and melt into me forever. They won't be satiated with the not-so-clever explanations to answer the pondering heart, "why does it do that" and "where does that come from." Their fingers won't interlace with mine forever and my jokes won't be the best forever. My mind couldn't conceive forever. It couldn't, that is, until I had children.
When I look at those two with the brown eyes and that one with the mysterious hazel I know what forever means. Forever is the kind of love I have for them. My love is big enough to give one more sippy cup of "fresh water", one more back scratch, one more "rainbow song". My love for them is powerful enough to pull that last sliver of energy I have to get that thing done because Mom is the only one now. My love is big enough to stand in front of them in the most frightening of storms, it shields them, and it covers them. My love is a forever love. It is the love that trusts their small voices when they tell the hardest truths of all.
I won't have to wake up early with them forever, or make mac and cheese forever, or field questions about "why can't we go do something" forever. I won't feel tired or scared forever.
But the love I have for them?
It is a forever love.
I will love them forever. And the day after forever.