I’ll exhale, and you’ll be gone already.
These years, these days, these hours that I sit here, holding my breath, waiting, watching, treading water, you’re growing. Changing. Separating. Learning.
I am too. We are growing together, but also, apart.
It’s going so fast. Just like they said it would.
The look of nostalgia in my father’s eyes as he first saw you, brand new and beautiful, and then looked at me, your mother, has spread. It has begun to form, between the wrinkles, upon my own face.
My heart twinges in reminiscence, and yet rejoices in pride at the person you are becoming.
I can’t wait for the future. But also, well, I can.
Because these years when you still want to hold my hand as we walk to school, when you still reach first for my arms every morning when you stumble down the hall into the warm kitchen, the smells of breakfast having awoken you, when you’re still carelessly dancing between the produce at the market, arms out wide, feet tapping, oblivious to spectators, are fleeting.
These golden years are reaching their climax.
The dials on the calendar are spinning, swiftly. Each turn a reminder of progress. Of milestones. Of memories.
And sometimes, it’s scary.
Am I enough?
Or too much?
Am I giving you the tools to deal with your life?
Will the lessons we are learning together carry you forward, always?
When you remember these years with me, what will you say? How will you feel? Will I have been the role model you needed and deserved?
How will I know?
I see you giggling and talking about boys and it sends chills down my spine. If I haven’t figured it out yet myself, how can I possibly know what to say to you?
Would you listen even if I had?
I see your little brother provoke you and your intense anger in response, hormones firing, the ability to be rational gone in the heat of the moment, and I reflect upon those years with some pain.
This part is hard. It hurts, growing up.
How can I make it better for you?
How can I be the best me while also being the best mother for you two?
I love you so, my darling girl. Even when I’m angry. Even when I screw up, which is often. Even when my expectations cloud my judgement. Even when you don’t like me. Even when it’s easy. Especially when it’s hard.
But also, I will never do anything better.
I love you. And that, I think, is enough.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Michelle Sweezey
Editor: Travis May