Marking the time
This post ran on Ali Edwards' site recently. I wanted to share it here, as well.
Time is a bullet train.
My daughter Aidan starts her senior year of high school in just over a month. Tack on one more year and she’s off to a yet-to-be-selected college, but one that we’re pretty sure isn’t going to be a hop, skip and a jump from our front door.
Even though there are at minimum 365 days that must pass between now and that time, I find myself mentally preparing for our nest to be lighter by one remarkable body.
And by ‘mentally preparing’, I actually mean, ‘putting it in the farthest corner of my disbelieving mind.’ You see when I agreed to go off birth control back in 1995 I had precisely zero knowledge of exactly what I was signing on for. I wasn’t one of those girls who daydreamed what it would be like to grow up, get married and become a mama. In fact, when I met my husband Dan, one of the first things I needed to get on the table was my lack of desire for children.
It had never even crossed my mind that I’d procreate. During my early teens I babysat for some singularly awful kids and that pretty much sealed the deal: parenting was not something that would ever show up on my resume of life.
But a funny thing happened when I turned 29. I started noticing babies. Everywhere I looked, there they were. And far from the howling, smelly, horrible little poop balls I’d imagined, they were actually—much to my surprise and shock—kind of cute.
Of course, that was 17 years ago—an entire lifetime if you’re my daughter—and what I’m looking at now is, just like embarking on the parenthood journey, an entirely new and foreign landscape to navigate. This singular creature whose care and nurture has been in my charge is preparing to move on and out. Now more than ever, grace and wisdom and love are needed to help her move confidently through this transition.
That is my most important task at hand.
Life does change in a blink. That isn’t some cliché. It seems like just yesterday, when I would tip toe around in the early morning hours to make sure she slept just a little longer so I could snag a cup of coffee in peace and quite before the day commenced. Today, I could play my 13-year-old son’s drum set and neither she nor he would likely even stir.
It’s things like this that mark the time. Things like realizing they don’t need you to help them decide what to wear anymore. Things like realizing they now stay up later than you do. Things like seeing them develop their own ideas and opinions. Things like realizing they are not simply an extension of you.
As a memory keeper—a scrapbooker who’s out and proud of it—I’m more grateful than ever to have documented parts of her life—of my life—with this beautiful, amazing, surprising and delightful young woman.
I have a lot of friends who would say to me over the years, “I don’t know how you find the time for that sort of thing,” and I hear them. I really do.
I guess it’s just been one of my ways to mark the time.
I love you, baby girl. Here’s to another remarkable year in the life.
Photo by the amazing Margie Scherschligt.