"This Holiday season has contradictorily been the same as most years and entirely different. In actuality, nothing has changed. We have baked gingerbread, attended the Nutcracker, decorated the tree, made new ornaments, wrapped gifts, sang carols and enjoyed the lights and the general festiveness of the pre-holiday season. The difference is that in the back of my mind I know it will never be like this again. You see, this is the last year that our oldest will be living at home full time. Don't get me wrong. I look forward to this time of her exploration and finding her grown-up self. Going off to college, meeting new people, seeing new things. Independence. But as the mom? Nope. Not so much. As the mom I think maybe she should just stay home forever; singing to me and writing songs and stories in front of the fire until we both grow old. Sound good? Yeah, I know. I just thought I would have more time.
When she was born, 18 years seemed like such a long time. It was quite a long time before she learned to crawl and then walk and then talk. Potty training? Forget it! That took an eternity. The first day of kindergarten seemed as if it would never come. But it came. And went. In the blink of an eye. Then weeks started flying by. And then months and years and now here we are. I hope she is ready. That is really my job as a mother. To prepare each of them them to leave. What a sucky job! Feeding and clothing and guiding and nurturing. Pouring your whole heart and soul into this little person; acting excited on the first day of school when all you want to do is wrap them in a blanket and rock them in a chair. Resisting the urge to run away from home the first time they tell you they hate you. Smiling and taking pictures the first time they drive away in the car without you, even though you would rather take out your own appendix with a butter knife because it seems less risky. All that just to have them pack their bags and leave? What the heck!? I change my mind. No kids for me. Yeah, I know... That shipped has long sailed. I just know that those days and weeks and years that are flying by will soon turn into decades.
I truly do look forward to seeing what each of my children becomes. The photographer/musician, the astronaut, the architect and the ballerina/baker. They are amazing little people. I can only imagine that they will be even more amazing big people. Who will hopefully bring some new big people into our lives and then make some new little people. (Oh c'mon...all moms hope that is what will happen!) But the selfish part of me just wants to freeze time. To scream, "Wait, I am not ready!"
Well, a year has passed since that post, and Number One Daughter has been off to college for a few months now. We do miss her, and we are looking forward to having her home this next few weeks, but all in all, it has been a joy to witness her adventures. Yes, it is quiet as she is the only one of my children who ever really makes noise. We miss her noise. Her pounding of the piano and guitar. Her lovely voice belting out Bob Dylan. The way she can talk for 10 minutes without a breath. But this is her time to make her way in the world, and her absence really does make her return sweeter.
When our oldest was around 5 or 6, we visited a small amusement park. She reluctantly decided to ride The Dragon, a kiddy roller coaster. Wide-eyed and pale she made the first circle clearly holding back the urge to let out a terrified scream. Her horror was obvious even to the teenage ride operator who stopped the coaster to let her off. When she got off she told us that it was both the most horrendous and most thrilling thing that she had ever experienced. That is me. Right now. Holding back the scream and yet somehow thrilling at the ride. I am not one for roller coasters ya know and I am not sure how I was even talked into getting on. But I can say for sure...What a ride!" (December 2010 K is for Kids)
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