The cycle of life

The tides of time. How the years pass us by. Some of those I knew at university have already seen their own children graduate. Some then were already married and had started a family when we were in our first year of studies; those children now all grown up, with children of their own. Some I once knew are now grandparents.

Legend has it that I was always late. I was born late. Apparently I learnt to talk and walk late. I was late realising that study was important. Late to grow up, mature. Late to university. Late to start my career. And now, it seems, late comprehending the cycle of life.

I got married at 24. Late in the annals of time, but apparently pretty early amongst my peers. We spent the first decade of our marriage trying to have children. Years trying naturally, while doctors jabbed and probed. A period abroad trying treatment denied us at home. When that did not work out, we explored fostering. When that did not work out, we explored adoption. Two years of training, assessments, hearings, panels, emptiness, worry, more panels, more assessments, introductions. Yes, it was a very long and complicated gestation.

The sibling pair that appeared in the midst of Ramadan have been with us eleven years now. That decade zipped past in an instant. The older is a teenager already, already making her presence felt, reminding us that she is an independent being with her own wants and desires. In another five years, she too will be heading off to university, if the Most Merciful wills, her brother not far behind her.

Amongst our friends, we are the haggard parents at the school gates. Our hair is turning grey. Tired, worn out. We were late to the party. They understood the cycle of life long before us. We’re still running late.

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