We had such a great day! It was just magical to watch my daughter all day. Her grace, her humor, the things she says that make me overly concerned about her. All of it. I just sat in awe of her and all that she is all day long. She is such a gift to me.
We had Easter brunch. We lounged by the pool. We walked the boardwalk in Mission Beach and got to watch a man have a very intimate conversation with a bush. We bought new bikinis. We ate tacos. We walked around Coronado Island and shopped some more. We took photos and laughed and sang and just had the best damn day. It was everything I wanted for her. I hope it was everything she wanted.
It was also very bittersweet. We spent time talking about her future. What she wants to do...maybe join the service. Navy probably. It is so weird that this child of mine, that I have lived with every day since her birth, in two short years maybe leaving and traveling to places I cannot even imagine. To be honest, it kind of breaks my heart and thrills me to no end. Her life, it has always been hers. But I was entrusted with her care and now that time is coming to a close and it feels overwhelming and scary and hard and amazing all at the same time.
It is hard for me to let go. Every time she wants to go out without me, I am paralyzed. Every time she tells me her dreams to take flight into her own amazing life, I tremble a bit. I know this is what all the previous years of work are all about. We don’t have children to keep them as children forever. We take on this awesome responsibility so that they may one day find their own wind and wings and fly out into the great beyond that is their own life.
It is such a weird time for me. I see the future but it is still distant enough for me to not really dread it yet. And yet, there it is breathing down my neck every day. It is like a dog walking behind you on a long walk, hot breath on the backs of your knees so you know he is always right there with you. This is how this phase of adolescence feels to me. I can walk forward, but not without the constant reminder that my time of daily companionship with her comes to an end.
I am excited for her. I am. I want her to have all the good things in life and I know those things have to come without me. Well, at least without me right there all the damn time. She has to strike out on her own. I remember this time in my own life and it was magical. I remember shopping with my mom before I went off to college after I graduated high school. It was this amazing feeling that I cannot find words for...I was growing up and moving on and I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life that I have been more acutely aware of it than that summer between high school and college. I knew it was my time and I savored it.
I feel this next two years is going to pass by all too quickly. I want her happy, and whole and involved and moving forward. I want her to have meaningful friendships and relationships. I want to be one of them. I want to spend as much time as I can listening to her...I do way too much talking. I don’t want to miss a moment of these next couple years. I can feel the foundation of the life I worked so hard to build, eroding, and while it is upsetting, it is as it should be. My kids are launching into their own and that is exciting and conflicting.
I will have time to spend with my parents. Really slow down and enjoy them. Quiet meals. Talks. Maybe even a few walks in the meadow with them. Life is still happening for all of us, it is just changing in ways that I cannot yet grasp.
For now, this child of mine lays beside me sleeping and grinding her teeth in this lovely hotel room in San Diego. Life is uncomplicated and serene. I tap out my heart and soul while she dreams the dreams that I think she only shares with me a part of. And this too is how it is supposed to be.
And while my heart vacillates between heavy and light, I see that this too is just the nature of life. Ebbing and flowing in and away again. I want to snuggle down and hold her tight, this part of me that isn’t ready for what is coming. And then there is the other part of me that recognizes that our relationship is changed even though there are parts that still resemble how we used to be.
I have loved being a mom. Something that I wasn’t sure I wanted, I am so grateful I didn’t miss. I wish I would have done a better job. I wish I would have known how much my own unresolved shit would affect us all. I didn’t. I do now and while it is never too late, it is anyway. I cannot go back and be that better, more patient mother when they were little. I cannot calm myself down and be less reactive to their whims and fits. I wish I could, God, I fucking wish I could.
I sat yesterday with families at the pool, listening to the parenting, the exhausting parenting of young children. And I found myself grateful to be beyond all that. So incredibly grateful to be over that part of parenting. But then, I saw a dad float around the pool with his infant, and I remember that feeling of that tiny little body clinging to me. Laughing and smiling as I made my way across the water. And just for a moment, I remembered that it was all good. There were plenty of those moments. We had them, I just wonder why they aren’t the ones I think of as often. I am so hard on myself, most especially in my role as mother. And I seem to always review my time and tenure with such a critical mind and voice.
I suppose it doesn’t matter now. My kids have their memories of that time and I am not in control of that. I pray they remember how much effort I put forth and how much love I have for them. I pray that my daughter feels it now, as I drip my love for her out in every word on this page.
I love you my beautiful girl, I pray that you have had a beautiful life this far and that you know that regardless of how I showed up, that I have loved you every minute of every day since the moment I found out I was pregnant with you. I am dreading the loss of you in my every day life, but I will weather that change as I have all the others, sometimes well and sometimes not so much. Regardless, I will love you and attempt to do my best by you, for all the beautiful and hard days yet to come...