Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Days are Long But the Years are Short

There are those pivotal moments when you see your child transform before your eyes. You realize that every ounce of energy that you have put into raising this child--all the time you spent worrying, all the pep talks you've given, all the times you've listened and advised, or just listened...and all the times you've yelled (you didn't mean to be yelling but you had to make sure she could hear you!)--worked. She is grown up, she is 17, she is beautiful, she is her own person. Her own person who has succeeded beyond your expectations and who has fallen flat on her face...and gotten back up, again and again. You have been there, you have guided her, you have loved her, you have mothered her through all of it.

And here she stands, my height, with a maturity beyond anything that I was even close to having at 17...well beyond.  I love her more than words can say. I am in awe of her person--the person who she has become, independent of me. I love what she brings to this world and to my heart.  I love how she makes me laugh, how she lights up a room, how she talks too loud and chomps her food. I even love that she still throws tantrums (I taught her well!) I love it all.

Talk of the upcoming summer that she will spend away at camp, talk of her being a senior, of her LAST year at home, with me, with us, and talk of her going away to college swirls around me. It is all talk right now. Because to internalize it makes my heart ache too much, and creates a lump in my throat. I know how fast a year goes. I know how fast 17 years has gone. She cried a lot when she was a baby. She bit other kids and she was bossy as a toddler.  She drove me insane as an adolescent, and still continues to keep my hair colorist in business with all the grays she has given me as a teenager. But she has always and continues to amaze me with her intelligence, her wit and her zest for life. She has taught me how to live fully and to laugh a whole lot more.

As I work on the book that I am writing for moms about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, I spend hours reading mothers' accounts of what their joys and challenges have been/are with their children, their spouses and within themselves. It causes me to do a tremendous amount of reflecting on my children's lives and of my transformation as a mother. I am not able to fully articulate how quickly the time goes. When you are in the throws of whatever you are in with your children, it seems like time stands still. And in a way it does. You are in a bubble, the child-rearing bubble. I remember wanting those days to go by a little faster and yearned for more time to myself.  But as you start to see your way out of that bubble, it is a little bit scary, and you realize that although there are many challenges within the bubble, it is where you have spent your time with your child. There is comfort there, and popping that bubble is not as easy as it may seem.

I looked over at my daughter's eyes in the kitchen yesterday. She looked different.  She had the seriousness in her eyes that only adults have. But thankfully, her serious, focussed, beautiful blue eyes had a sparkle, not a little girl sparkle but a sparkle that is timeless and ageless--a sparkle that I hope she will never lose. Maybe she has had this look in her eyes for a while and I just didn't notice. Maybe I didn't want to notice. Maybe I don't want her to be grown up...and to leave. But I do. But I don't. But I....It is not up to me. She has grown up. She will leave. But...not quite yet!  Thank goodness we have another year!