May 3, 2012

Motherhood, The Teenage Daughter and Time


Today I did something that I've been dreading.  I signed my Miss M up for drivers ed. I feel silly admitting this but I actually have a lump in my throat.  The date has been set and I know she'll be thrilled.  She's been waiting for this day since she was 3 and wanted to drive a pink barbie car to grandpa's house. But not me, I'm not ready. 

I've decided that motherhood is like a pendulum.  I swing from pride, happiness and joy to worries and fears regularly.  These feelings are normal.  I feel pride in who she is becoming and I worry about the challenges she will face but mostly, I just feel bewildered at how time is passing so quickly.  Why is this pendulum, that seems to track our time together, swinging so quickly?  

Time is passing without my consent. She was three, then twelve, and now almost fifteen and all I did was blink.  The next thing I know I will blink again and she will be off to college, getting married, or becoming a mom herself.  I'd like scream "Stop!" but I can't.  I understand fully that this is the cycle of life.  It's all part of the plan.  But for a mom - for me - it hurts.  Slow down kiddo, don't grow up so fast. 

My feelings today reminded me of a personal journal entry I wrote about an exchange Miss M and I had when she was twelve.  It's almost been three years.  Maybe you can relate!

Tonight was a regular night in the Williams' house. Quiet mostly. The tv was on for noise. The twins had been tucked into bed. Prayers were said and foreheads were kissed.

An hour later it was Marinne's turn. She's twelve now so her forehead is still kissed but she has her own nightly routine, the kind that no longer needs the help of a parent.

As with the routine that happens every night, about 20 minutes after we say our good nights she always come back down stairs for something. Usually it's for a drink. Sometimes it's to see what I'm doing. (although, she won't admit that). Doesn't really matter the reason, every night it is something.

Tonight it was something I wasn't expecting. A question.

"Mom, are you going to wear your black shoes to church tomorrow?"

It was just a question and while I pondered briefly what my response would be, I realized her words said one thing but she was really asking something else. 

So, with a smile I answered "I don't know, but even if I'm not you can't wear them!"

I wasn't surprised when her response was combative, "but Mom!" and then she listed all the reason why I should let her wear my shoes.  

My black shoes are just $15 black shoes from Walmart. They aren't special, just cheap church shoes but to her they are another symbol of coming of age. They are heels.

High heels!

She repeatedly pushes to be grown up and I repeatedly push her to slow down.

I remember being 12. I remember wanting to wear heels, and make-up, and wanting my ears pierced. I remember. I do, I remember!

I also remember how quickly that time passes. Yesterday I was 12 today I am 36. Why did I want to grow up so fast? What was my hurry?

What is her hurry?

As she walked away I called her back. I made her hold my hand and as much as I know she was thinking "oh mom!", I had to tell her to slow down one more time.

I had to tell her to enjoy being twelve and while I know she is still thinking about being older, having boyfriends, and wearing make-up. I hope she also knows I was serious. And with my words, and a little tear that ran down my cheek, maybe - just maybe - she'll be okay with being twelve for one more day.

Or, even better, maybe for 7 more months.

Then I will be reminding her to just be thirteen.

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