I read a beautiful essay in Huff Post Parents on The Blog entitled “A New Season” by Lindsey Mead (on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog–A Design So Vast). And it struck a nerve. A big nerve. And I’m now going to confront exactly what I’ve been avoiding for a while now–my Emma is growing up.
You know what my trouble with parenting is? I’m always so prepared TO BE prepared, I plan for the worst and hope like hell for the best–the idiotic thing about this is no one can control everything. ESPECIALLY with children. Emma surprises me daily from her new-found 10-year-old ways and seemingly closer to her teens by the minute, to coming home with a drawing she made of flowers that says “To Mom Love Emma I love you” on the back. And man alive the looks she gives me-! And that’s just it–welcome to……dut dut daaaahhhhh–your child growing up.
Em and I, it’s always always been Em and I. And gradually her life is ballooning out in front of her in such healthy ways (compared to a lot of my moments growing up). Now there’s a boy she has liked forever and she found out yesterday he likes her too. And the greatest part?–she couldn’t wait to tell ME all about it. But I’m becoming more of that back-pocket person now: i’m here if she needs or wants me, but she’s more than ready to take on many things by herself. Terrifying. Fucking terrifying. And it’s okay, too. Fear doesn’t bother me, it’s the lack of control and the speed in which this is moving that bothers me. All of the sudden, she’s not my partner in crime. No one can teach you this shit–that those years of pure joy and discovery and companionship only lasts so long, and you have to let go. And the harder you love, the harder it is to let go. In the essay mentioned above (read it!) Lindsey writes:
“The predominant emotion of this time, as Grace embarks upon the vital transition from child to young adult and to an autonomous and independent sense of self, is wonder. Wonder upon wonder, so many layers I have lost count: there is awe, fear, and astonishment, and also an endless list of questions. I gaze at my daughter, coltishly tall, lean, all angles and long planes, and wonder where the last ten years went. It is not hard to close my eyes and imagine that she is still the rotund baby or chubby toddler that she was just moments ago. At the same time I can see the young woman she is rapidly becoming in her mahogany eyes…..”
and lastly, and ever so eloquently, Lindsey writes:
“And all I know to do as we move into this new season is to pay attention, to look and listen and write it down. Everything I write, and everything I live, is an elegy to what was and a love letter to what is.”
So, I think she sums it up best. Pay attention, because this moments are so precious and yet slipping from our grasp, soon we’ll just be watching from afar. Are we prepared in our hearts for this? My guess is–never.