Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Bittersweet Stage

We are in the midst of major transitions in our home. Both girls are moving on to new and huge transitions. All of the sudden it feel like someone pushed the fast forward button on the DVR of my life, they didn't just hit it once, but three times, you know that speed that your family always demands so you can get past the commercials faster? Yup, that's my life. But instead of racing after them shouting "guys wait up!", I have slowed down (see the post after this one). I have to get my head in the game. I can't afford to miss a moment. This is the conundrum of anxiety, you take medication so you can participate in life and not drown in it, but the medication makes you so chill, life just moves past you. What do I do? Chill or panic? Not sure.

Anyway, enough about me. This post is about my girls. Not to brag, but they both ended the school year like champions. Lily did very well in school. She passed her state tests and made honor roll. Caroline just literally took the world by storm. I love how she sticks with things, tackles them, sometimes gets knocked down, but always keeps going (hmm, I wonder where that tenacity comes from?). She is driving and working. Her job loves her and she has already found another job for the school year. She is so excited about her new independence and can't wait to fly off. Part of this flying off process involves pushing back at me. Rob says to not take it personally, but some days it feels like I am damned if I do, damned if I don't. Hence, the retreating. I was warned about this. There is more sharing about weathering the teen years, although still not as much as there is about the baby and toddler stages. The baby and toddler stages seem never ending and immediate. There is this frenzied terror and delight during those years. None of it prepares you for teens. Everything seems life or death when your child is younger (if you choose the wrong sleep, potty training, feeding method,  will your child will be scarred for life?). The teen years? They really are life and death. You are guiding the formation of an adult. Good grief, nothing that you have ever done as a parent has been more important and you are doing it all with an all knowing, slightly terrified, occasionally surly young adult as your co pilot. Don't get me wrong, in the world of teens, we are beyond blessed. Caroline is amazing. Truly! Sometimes, I watch her and my breath catches. I get that feeling of awe that I had when we first brought her home. "We made this...we created this magical creature."

And then there is Lily. I was so unprepared for this. Lily has always been my little joyful firecracker. Suddenly, she is almost as tall as me. When the hell did that happen? There was no warning that the days of toys and public goofiness and little clothes and sweet pats to wake me up would be leaving soon. When Caroline grew up, that was ok because I still had Lily. Oh, if I'd paid attention, I would have treasured the joy and exuberance more. Of course, I was also trying to survive the fury and confusion that accompanied it. The change has been subtle, worrying about her hair, increased sarcasm (the power is fierce with this one), cooperation and compliance (loving this!!!). She has entered this quiet thoughtful time. She is suddenly weepy and doesn't know why. She has moments of quiet. She can sit and read a book for 30 minutes. When we were cleaning her room (not quite the usual beginning of the summer crap storm as usual), she looked at me and said "You know, soon I won't be playing with dolls anymore." Still, she disappear and spend hours tending to them, right after she has declared R5 the best band ever. She is in between. It is such a confusing and tender time. She is doing it in a way that Caroline never did. It is like she is purposefully and slowly saying good bye to childhood. It is heart breakingly beautiful and completely unexpected.

I miss the days that were so full I collapsed in bed and wondered if we would ever make it. Truthfully, I loved the child stage. The funny things they would says, the music, the toys, the cartoon, the wonder. I don't miss babies, I miss MY babies. My girls are looking at the world with wide open eyes and hopeful hearts. We are standing on the edge, ready to take on new roles as daughters and mother.

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