Once upon a time there was a girl. She wanted motherhood for as many years as she could remember. And when her time came to be a mother, it was both harder and lovelier than she dreamed.
Seventeen years ago, when my mothering of daughters began, I did not look to the growing up part. Yes, all the while they have been growing, but I did not spend time in the grown up part of their story. But this year, the one who made me a mother, is a senior. That which I’ve not spent time thinking about is here, and I am not quite sure how I feel about that.
I’ve heard it said that this is what it’s all about, the growing up and sending off, but I don’t think I believe it. I close my eyes and I see 4 girls dressed in matching dresses. They call my name hundreds of times a day and I take it for granted how that will feel when that noise quiets down.
I don’t know why it is a surprise to me, this growing up and letting go. Surely I remember leaving home at 18 and the excitement I felt at my wide-open world. I am 43 and I can certainly see that my first 18 years were at home and the next 25 have been spent in my own home(s). But when I think of it with MY kids, it’s not with that same excitement that I so vividly remember.
It is so easy to take time for granted and let the busy blur of it all overshadow the purposeful enjoyment of the everyday. I think I was afraid to look ahead for fear of what was coming.
I am peeking ahead now because she is taking her senior pictures this week. It’s officially here and I am reminding myself to enjoy and not fear this change. All that I had to learn, from newborn to now, is shifting a bit. Yes, I am mourning motherhood’s ever changing landscape. Not unlike the mourning amid the celebration with the first steps they take and the independence that follows. Or the first lost tooth and how grown up they look overnight. What a privilege it is that I get to learn to mother in a new way! To guide more and tell less, to listen more and talk less.
Ok, I admit, that part is going to be hard for me. But when I became a mother, I became all the parts of a mother. The pregnant mother with hopes and dreams and huge plans for her mothering, the newborn mother who lacks sleep, the potty training temper tantrum mother, the teaching to read mother, the play dates and sleepovers and friends and problems with friends mother, the sometime taken for granted mother, the praying and dreaming and mistake making mother. And now, the building up as well as you can to send off mother. Truly, it is all part of this mothering journey, and I will learn as I go what to hold tight and what to let go.