Sleepy reflections on mothering…
I did what any mother would do. I manned the After Prom* trampoline from 11:15 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. After Prom needed volunteers and I needed to be where I could steal glances of my soon-to-be off-to-college daughter. I can’t stop looking at her.
Sometimes when her long red hair swings by, I see redheaded baby curls so tight, I couldn’t squeeze the fine toothed comb through them. When I catch her pointing the camera at herself, ripping off an America’s Next Top Model pose, I flash back to the careful smile and erect posture of her six year old self posing for a studio photo. And when she’s laughing her head off on the cell phone outside on the deck, I suddenly see the three year old girl jumping in circles shouting the ABC’s at the top of her lungs.
So while I stood at the head of a line of trampoline-bound teens, I kept my eyes open for Johannah. She’d fly by in the middle of a pack of friends and they’d shout, “Hey Johannah’s Mom!” And my heart skipped a beat, snapping another mental picture of Johannah at this stage which will be gone in the blink of an eye, aware that she is about to go out of our house and into her life and I can’t do anything to stop it. Nor would I.
Last night, she sent me to her Face Book where all her friends’ prom photos are posted. I discovered a place where she wrote a stream of consciousness piece that described what she loved about her life. It was filled with the wonderful details that mean a lot to anyone who knows her, like the way she loves to do Sudoku every day while she watches Oprah, or the fact that she is passionate about spelling words correctly. Right in the middle of that big long list, my heart stopped.
She wrote, “I love that my mom used to sing me lullabies and I love that I can still remember them.”
So she’s remembering too. If we can remember together and write these memories down, perhaps the baby, little girl, teenager, young woman will go with us into the future as she becomes whoever she chooses to become. I’ll miss all the girls she’s been, but I am finally looking forward to the woman she will be, too.
*After Prom: The parent-funded public school post-prom extravaganza of food, bounce houses, casino games, trampolines, movies and raffles that keeps teens off the streets and out of trouble after midnight on prom night.
Tonight I watched my 12 year old daughter from a distance as she helped her dad plant sweet corn, and in my mind she was one again, helping him plant trees.
I see her shape changing from a kid’s body into a young lady’s. It’s beautiful to be able to see watch this metamorphosis.
I suddenly realized tonight that two thirds of her time at home with us is over. Then I read your blog about your daughter, and cried over the horrible and wonderful thing “time” is.
Even though I am aware of how precious time is, and even though I am paying attention to it, time still will not have the courtesy to pause, just for a moment, so I can imprint these memories in my heart. . .
Julie – thank you for the heartfelt reminder to enjoy every minute… it brought tears to my eyes… Penny
Thank you for this treasure, shared so eloquently. You brought a tear to this mother’s eye as well.
Tears here, too. Thank you, Julie.
It is so true that we can’t stop the march of time, even when we are conscious of it passing. One of the treasures I take from watching now two children move on from the family home is that I can see that these years at home have been well-spent. The investment, exhaustion, attempts to really hear and know my children, the hours we’ve been together… these are all part of how they will greet the world.
And their lives have changed me too. It’s a privilege to be a mother. It’s even better to have shared so many hours together.
I woiuld leave a reply if I could stop the tears…my children are 9 and 5 and I can’t even comprehend them leaving home (except to go ride their bikes!)
I know, I know.
I’ve got two who’ve left the nest and one about to fledge. It’s hard, but it’s good.