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This past weekend, I had pictures made of my daughter.

Last year, during a ceremony where she was inducted into the school Honor Society, I was noticing how much a difference there was between her (then) 7th grade class and the 8thand 9th grade classes. How much transformation goes on in those students during those few years of Junior High.

This weekend, when my normally jeans-and-a-t-shirt/ponytail-no-makeup child got all fancied up for her portraits, I felt like I was suddenly in a time warp.

I’m not one of those parents that is always wishing for time to slow down, but I realize that I get in my little ruts and routines and really fail to notice just how much my child has grown and grown UP in the last year. She had to remind me recently that she needed to take Driver’s Ed because she’ll be eligible to get a driving permit in December.

What?!

It all snuck up on me, this growing up business. I knew it was happening, that it’s still happening, but it seems to be stealing my breath.

One of the pictures she posed for included her sitting on a suitcase in the middle of an empty highway, looking at a globe. I have no doubt that she was actually looking at places she might want to visit. She’s already stated how much she wants to live somewhere else. I don’t blame her at all. I wanted the same thing when I was her age. I still want it sometimes. I won’t fight her on it.

I want her to see all that she can see of this beautiful planet. Experience as much goodness as she can. Learn things that intrigue her. Visit places that fascinate her. Meet people that help transform her view of life and love and culture.

I was on the verge of some major emotion this weekend, and it’s carried over into today. I think that’s why. Because I saw not just my daughter’s most recent transformation from girl into young woman, but when I see her in that new light, I begin to think of the adventures that really are just ahead of her.

I feel anxiety, as mothers do, for her safety and security. But mostly, I am filled with an aching for her to have as full of a life as she can possible have. She’s exceptionally bright, intelligent – if I had made different choices, she might have had more opportunities to explore her gifts and abilities. She’s not even fully grown and I already wish I could have done some things differently with her and for her.

But, like most of the parents I know and have known, I do the best I can. I fail. But not more than I believe I succeed. And I always love. She will know about my mistakes if she doesn’t already, but she can never question my love for her. And at the end of the day, when she is grown and gone and making her own way in this world, that is the one thing that can steady her when she’s uncertain. The one thing she can always count on. All roads can lead home, and I’ll be there – ready to hear all about where she’s been.

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