I get it. Time keeps ticking. We are forced to keep moving with the motion of the clock.. There is a small part of me though that wishes I could go back. A part of me that wants a second chance to pay more attention so the memories are clearer and crisper in my mind. I was looking at a picture of my son from four years ago. He looks so small and naive at 11 years old. He was still my baby then and I felt like I had the power to protect him. He turns 15 tomorrow and the physical changes between then and now are astonishing. I can only wonder how many changes have occurred internally. The world changes as we get older. At least our perception of it does. Our openness slowly narrows, our faith gets tangled. Our beliefs change and get challenged with the passing of each new day. Four years ago he was a different boy. I was different back then too. Change is inevitable and necessary but once in awhile I long for the simplicity of years ago. I miss the days when we would throw the sleeping bags and pillows on the floor and make a mess with popcorn as we argued over which movie to watch. I miss the days I didn’t know I couldn’t hold onto my kids forever and I was too caught up to ever think there would come a time those days of camping out on the floor would come to an end. As I sit here today, I realize more than ever how little control I have over anything. All I can do is hope that the good moments slow down long enough to imprint the permanence of this memory of him in my mind. I know I can’t physically go back but as long as I have the memories I can linger there from time to time. It seems like yesterday, I was bringing him home from the hospital on that rainy day. How did fifteen years pass by so fast? It seems like a blur. He’s desperately trying to grow up too fast and I’m desperately trying to hold onto my little boy. Happy birthday Chase. Slow down just a little because I’m having a tough time keeping up. Time waits for no-one. Ready or not, here it comes.
My mom forwards me some really silly things on Facebook Messenger. Sometimes I stare at the screen and ask myself, why in the world is she sending me this? The last few days she hasn’t hasn’t been feeling well and my messages have become eerily silent. Sometimes we don’t realize how much something means to us until it’s gone. Every time she starts to get symptoms again I get really scared. Her health has been a challenge the last few years and it’s never going to move back in the other direction. I know she won’t be around forever. None of us will but the thought of someday not being able to talk to her on the other end of the phone everyday fills my heart with a pain that is far too deep for words. Tonight I am reminded that life is precious. We have to love people while we are fortunate enough to have them around to love. We have to make the call to say you matter, you are so important to me. Life can change in an instant and we have to have lived and loved enough to always be prepared for the most unexpected scenarios. Reach out to someone and let them know you care. That is the greatest gift you can offer someone…your time, and attention, your affection and your appreciation for having them in your life. Put your time into the people and things that really matter. Make every minute count.
On Thursday, my daughter will turn eighteen. How blessed I am to have had the opportunity to hear someone call me mom for that long. We celebrated her birthday over the weekend. The ride home was quiet. Her cake sat on my lap like a weight hanging heavy on my soul. Where did the time go? The same little girl who clung onto me for dear life at preschool was ready to let go and run. Would she even look back? My tears escaped onto the cake box, each one a reminder of how much I was going to miss her. Each one aching, begging for just a little more time. Am I ready for this? Is she ready? Eighteen. How can it be. I close my eyes and I see her little pigtails blowing in the wind. For a moment, she is two, sitting in a field of wildflowers and time stands still. I see her little hand move through the colors. A purple and orange tapestry of pure beauty with her sitting in the middle of it. The symbolism smiles back at me. Why didn’t I see it before? She is my precious, unpredictable wildflower, growing at her own pace and in her own precious time unbound by anyone’s limits. Her spirit, her beauty could not be contained. I go to the place I keep that picture. I drink it in, desperate to taste the day one time more. My heart breaks a little as I study every detail of her tiny face. For that single moment, I am there in that field pointing my camera at her sweet little face while the flowers tickle my bare feet. In my next breath she is standing before me, eighteen and I think again how blessed I am to be her mom. I remind myself quietly, savor every moment. You can’t get a single minute back.
One thing I’ve decided to leave behind in 2016 is my medication for depression. I’ve wondered how different I might feel and day by day those feelings are becoming my new reality. As I sat and had lunch with my daughter today I let the pain tug at my heart. Every day that passes by is one less day she will be here with me. College is coming fast and I only have a few months left to get used to the idea of watching her go. She looked different to me today. So grown up, sitting there poised and confident as she dropped a little salsa into her lap. I’ve spent years trying to shape and mold her and she turned out nothing like I had planned. She is her own, unique, obstinate, beautiful version of herself…so much better than I ever imagined. She is smart and funny and kind and there is no doubt she will handle the world with grace all on her own. I am reminded of a quote I read someplace by Wayne Dyer:
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Maybe the person I saw in her today has been there all along. Maybe I just looked at her through different eyes, not critical ones but rather eyes of a mother who has suddenly noticed her baby girl is all grown up. Every day is a new adventure. A new chance to notice something you might have missed the day before.
So it’s Mothers Day and I am stealing a few quiet minutes alone while everyone else is still asleep. I’m feeling tired today. All I wanted to do was sleep and now I can’t. I sat up last night and waited for my daughter to get home from prom. Then I listened to 5 silly giggly girls heating up frozen pizza and running up and down the stairs. I woke up early in sheer panic because my son has two important tests next week that he has to pass. I am thinking about all the things that need to get done and all the places the kids have to be.
Being a mom is non stop. It is an incessant worry and responsibility for those precious lives. There is only a physical separation of where they start and where I begin but I swear my mind is tied to them. As a mom I have had my heart broken like never before. I have felt pain watching them in pain that I may never be able to heal. I have worried so much that my heart feels like it pounds on the outside of my chest. I have felt so proud that my eyes well up with tears. There are so many emotions that come along with parenting and with enough time they can wreak havoc on the strongest of souls.
Sometimes I want a day off or a few minutes to breathe. I want a fleeting second of not feeling such an intense responsibility for them. Then I laugh to myself because there is no chance at all that could ever be possible. Being a mom is my biggest challenge but I wouldn’t change it for a single thing in the world.
It’s prom day here in Oklahoma. I’m sitting here watching my husband on his hands and knees scrubbing the pool deck. We’ve spent the last hour sweeping and moving outdoor furniture since our backyard will be the backdrop for some very important pictures. A few hours from now, our house will be filled with teenagers excited about what the night will hold. I’m very emotional today. I can’t put my finger on what is hitting me so hard. Maybe it’s that in between of watching my baby girl go to her high school prom and my mom getting older everyday. Maybe it’s the balance of being the mom and the little girl and not knowing which one I want to be on what day. Maybe it’s looking back 27 years and clearly seeing the reflection of me in my own prom dress from afar and wondering where in the world did the time go? Why did it have to go so fast? Regardless, it’s a beautiful day and I am grateful for this blessed life I have.
12 years ago I was a given a gift. I was given the opportunity to raise and love a son. Secretly, I had hoped that he would be a girl. I already had one of those, so another one would be a cinch. But a boy, what in the world would I do with him?
It didn’t take long for his playful personality and belly laugh to completely kidnap my whole heart. He was easy going and he went with the flow while his new life mostly revolved around his sisters schedule. He played so hard he would pass out for hours and would wake with a beautiful smile on his chubby little face.
I’ve always known there was something very special about him. He is different from many other boys. He will never meet the tough, macho stereotype, for it is his heart that is his biggest and best feature. He is caring and he pays attention enough to notice the little details. He tells me to have a nice day every morning when I drop him off at school. Every time he hears me upset, he is the first one to ask if I’m alright. He is tender and emotional and he feels things deeper than most. He is a lover and a fixer and never too proud to say he is sorry. He has written me beautiful words that I will cherish until the end of time. He is silly and playful and probably more immature than he needs to be. Never in a hurry to grow up and never in a hurry to get anywhere really. He takes each moment as it comes and doesn’t give more thought to anything more than he actually needs to. He knows struggle. He knows how to put in the extra work just to play on a team. He has put ridiculous amounts of hard work in to finally beat his struggles in school. He has an impressive attitude and even when things seem hopeless, he never gives up. Even when people don’t notice he exists, he tries evens harder than if they were looking. He likes to please and when someone takes a moment to point out something good, his growth in self confidence is beyond something that could ever be measured. He’s been passed over and pushed aside while he secretly waits for a little attention, he is my quiet little warrior with a great big beautiful spirit who never, ever gives up. He is playful and goofy and the sound of his laugh still warms my heart that has grown bigger and softer from having him around. One thing is for sure. He loves his mom. And you know what? There’s no doubt how much she loves him too.
Happy birthday little buddy. I can’t wait to watch you enjoy life as a 12 year old. It’s hard to believe in a short year, you too will be a teen.
Where did all the years go? It seems like yesterday he was a sweet little baby laying in my arms. This year I watched him confidently walk into middle school. My little guy with freckles and blond reddish hair. He has grown in ways that make me proud. The effort and the growth that has paved a path in front of each new accomplishment amazes me every day. He is perfect just the way he is now. I pray that life never changes the smile on his face and that it is the smile on his face and in his heart, that not only changes the world but also makes it a better place.