The Edge of 17

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And so she grows and learns about the world and herself and all the things I knew she would. And I am unable to do very little about any of it. When she was little, I could put myself between her and anything unpleasant or unsavory. I was able to control the world, because I was the world. And so I made it one full of kisses, and books, and Peter Rabbit; music and dancing and so much sugar. I’m glad her little body survived that.

kinsey-baby

 

I find myself still trying with all my might to be her world, and despite my sturdy composition and constant revolving, I’m not enough-not big enough, not expansive enough, and of course I’m not. Nor should I be. Except loving her has this huge side effect of wanting everything to be perfect and lovely.

It’s the craziest thing, being a mother who loves and hovers, but also is trying to attach wings to your child. I’m in this constant battle with myself: wings on. no wings OFF. Ok fine wings ON. Wait!state-2016

I hope I can find the grace to allow her to have her own path, not begrudgingly, not in a way that makes her keep looking back, but in a way that is something like a soft breeze in her hair. I’d like to pretend I’ll be a butterfly that delights and encourages her as she is on her path, and not an annoying fly. Or worse: a mosquito, draining her very life blood with constant nagging and why haven’t you called? Don’t you miss your mommy?!

kinsey-and-gage

 

People, let me be clear here: I’m gonna have to work very hard to float like a butterfly. My mosquito tendencies are very real.

momma-and-kinsey

Yes, that’s me with Kinsey inside my shirt. Did she do that? No, I probably did. Look at her face.

I’m starting to think, that while the whole world is focusing on kids growing up, that the real growth is taking place inside us parents. Yes, it’s all about us.  The real hardship is on us poor people who were given the most perfect and rare and unbelievable gift of a baby who sort of looks like us even and smells like heaven above. And our lives change completely; suddenly we know a different kind of love that is not the least bit selfish.

our-best-christmas-gift

But then, little by little, these little children grow, and take more and more steps away from us. And this might just be the hardest most wonderful thing ever. I believe my friend, G, would call it brutiful, a word which here means Beautiful plus Brutal.

kinsey-balloon

I am still sturdy, and I will be ever revolving, in case she ever needs a different world, and yes, this parenting is the hardest most wonderful job I’ve ever had. She’s on her way. Tell everybody..she’s on her way, and please picture me as a butterfly.

Kinsey and Daddy’s song:

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7 thoughts on “The Edge of 17

  1. Lisa, we have a nineteen year old daughter and two older sons. We understand the wings on, wings off…. comment. She and her brothers make us proud, but when she comes home from college, we like to have little glimpses of our little girl. The other night we watched the live version of “Hairspray,” which I had not seen. Watching a TV show for three hours is rare with the kids these days. It was so special. Best wishes on watching those wings fly. Keith

      • Lisa, it is a wonderfully, different relationship. I was at a children’s museum with my older son yesterday seeing a travelling Genghis Khan exhibit, given his interest in the subject (I wrote a post about it today). While there, I showed him the areas he and his siblings would spend the bulk of their time when they were younger. Keith

  2. When I had my child, I was acutely aware that my job as a parent was to help her need me less each day. To give her the skills and the strength to live her life as she sees fit. I told her a long, long time ago that she does not need my approval to live her life, and that there would be times we disagree. There will NEVER, however, be a time when Love is anything other than Unconditional and Eternal, Lisa. She’ll soon be turning 30. Love is still Unconditional and Eternal. 😉 xoM

  3. My mother raised me to be an adult. That’s a funny sentence isn’t it? She felt that her childhood, lovely as it was, ill prepared her for adulthood, and she didn’t want me to be similarly knocked around. So I guess I have been preparing for my children’s adulthood ever since they were born. It doesn’t feel worrying to me that they are growing up, although sometimes their big leap forwards are surprising and illuminating. May we give them wings, and may we use our own to fly as well.

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