I can NOT believe my “baby” is 14. Where did the time go? I know where…it went in hugs and kisses, days at the beach, worries over schooling, broken arm, moving from place to place, hair dye, movies and, this year, our first concert.
I feel so incredibly, wonderfully blessed to have this amazing being in my home and in my life.
Yesterday, I was commenting to my friend about being all weepy (seriously, every little thing made me tear up!) and she wondered aloud why I was like that. After thinking about it for a few minutes, it finally dawned on me: I tear up *on her birthdays* because it’s pretty much the one day every year that I think about her life so far…I remember feeling her grow inside me, giving birth to her, seeing her for the first time, pining to hold her when others were, her first steps…you get the point. (And yes, I’m tearing up as I write this)
Most of the time, I see her as the person, L, instead of “my daughter” or “my baby”. I don’t see her as she was when she was two. I see her as she is now. Foggy memories cloud my brain when I try to think of who she was. Occasionally, especially when I hear other mothers pull up very detailed memories of their children from years previous, I feel quite bad about this fact. Why can’t I remember clearly? What kind of horrible mother am I that I can’t seem to recall the scent of her newborn hair or those little “isms” that all very young children have? But really, I think it’s a gift. Instead of remembering who she was, how she was, etc. I really see her. I see her. And that’s what I want. I want her to be seen, to be loved, to be respected and treated appropriately for where she is now.
I want to write more, but I don’t want to embarrass her and, honestly, I’m not entirely sure how to articulate what I feel. While each of my children has added to and changed my life, she was the first. She was the one who “made” me a mother. I stopped being a child because of her, I looked (and still look) at the world differently because of her. How can that ever really be explained?
Sometimes, I want to hold on as tight as I can…it’s moving so fast..so very fast. Each day is long, especially as more children and more commitments and more life get added in, but the years..the years have flown. Every day, since she was a little over one, she’s been steadily and swiftly moving in her own direction. She comes back to me here and there, sometimes I recognize those moments to savor them, but sometimes I don’t. Oh, how many sweet hugs have I taken for granted? How many times have I requested space only to realize that before I know it, space will be all I have. It’s bittersweet…this intense, consuming, unconditional love for other humans who need us completely for just a tiny bit (but goodness, does it feel like FOREVER when we’re in it), but who really, truly, are their own people with their own thoughts, desires, etc. who move away from us when they’re ready and who need that independence, sometimes long before we’re ready for them to have it. The past year, I’ve seen this clearly (I think) and attempted to embrace it. In doing so, I’ve found a new element to our relationship…one based on mutual respect and trust. I’ve savored many more of those tiny, fleeting moments.
One happened yesterday, while we were having a birthday celebration at the mall with her friends. She stood by me, very briefly, and moved her head slightly into mine. I took the opportunity to gingerly put my arm around her and return the head move. It lasted less than a minute, but it will live in my mama soul forever.