A terrible thing happened to me today. My baby grew up.
I realize that as of 4:23 PM EST she’s only a day older than she was at this time yesterday, but in my heart, she is so much closer to grown than I anticipated.
For those of you that don’t know me well, I am a mom to three gorgeous and amazing teen age daughters. As of this summer, they are all high school age. In parenting time, I am only five years from being able to say, “I have three grown children.” Intellectually I know this. It makes my heart squeeze, but at the same time, watching them become is so captivating that I can’t spend my time dwelling on the past or I will miss the fullness of now. Oh but sometimes, I am allowed a rare glimpse into the future and then, then the shortness of time slams home, and I’m left gasping at the brevity and breadth of time that we have to really raise our children.
I didn’t suspect when I signed Lindsay up for a high school chemistry lab that it would suddenly change the parameters of time and cause her to age. I never thought that the location of an event could be so traumatizing, but today I drove to a college campus, and watched my little girl walk away. With each step she grew taller, older and became more of the woman she is becoming. I know that every foot of distance wasn’t actually a year in time, but to my eyes each step was a mile further down all the roads she will one day walk. I watched her walk and at the same time my mind went back to the last day I stood in my parents’ home, with my brand new husband, and said goodbye before climbing into a Uhaul with everything I owned.
How do we do this?
How do we walk around with our hearts not entirely contained within our bodies?
How do we complete the masterpiece that is letting go of our children grown?
Fortunately, instead of being hundreds of miles away for decades, my baby was only two miles away for ninety minutes. I picked her up and brought her home full of smiles and chatter about density and Dr. Who and friends she hadn’t seen since the spring. She’s still very much fifteen.
Except that she’s also the woman she’s becoming, and that becoming means she’s still walking away.