Thursday, July 19, 2012

When You Realize Your Kids Are Growing Up ...

Motherhood is, without a doubt, the highlight of my life.

My daughters are both good, kind, bright, beautiful, amazing people, and I couldn't be more proud of them.  There is nothing I would rather do than spend time with them, to bask in their company, to enjoy every second with them ....

Except ... well, they're growing up.

Addie is in France right now.  Even before she left for her latest European venture, though, I got a taste of what the future holds.  We had plans to hang out, to go see a movie, to just spend time together, and so on right before she left.  On both occasions, she got better offers (friends, the boyfriend, and so on).

I am happy about that, believe it or not.  Addie coming out of her shell and becoming a confident young woman has been a joy to behold.

But there is a bittersweet aspect to it.  Every day that passes, every new adventure and experience, leads her further away from me, so even as I am increasingly proud of her and love her just the same as I always have, I miss the little girl who questioned how snakes were able to move when they don't have legs and who had a propensity for streaking as a toddler (she asked me recently why she's naked in so many childhood pictures ... I told her that she started every day dressed).

Of course, there are still these kinds of moments that I can reflect fondly on when she leaves for college ...
And then there is Belle, who has suddenly become "Miss Independent".
I was looking forward to spending a lot of time with Belle this summer, and when I told her this, she thought for a long moment then said, "No offense, Mommy, but I'd rather go to camp."

While she still requires our bedtime routine (which is comprised of reading books and snuggling) and we spend a lot of time together after camp gets out, Belle is clearly starting to grow up ... and it seems to be happening very quickly.  She loves to spend time with her friends, and I think that's great ... but I am starting to really miss her, strange as that probably sounds.

Belle is a character, without a doubt the funniest kid I've ever met in my life.  She also has a tremendous work ethic, which I am very proud of.  It's meant, of course, that this week of home repairs has resulted in us getting to work together on things, seeing each other in a different light.  For me, it's seeing her in a more grown-up light.

Henry even got her using the power washer, which she has a real knack for.
And so I've stopped wondering why people get the urge to have later-in-life children, why that rumor about ticking biological clocks exist.  If life circumstances were different, I would love to have another child, to be able to extend my lease on motherhood.

Except it's not really a lease, is it?  As I've learned with my own mother, it's a bond that never goes away.  It is sometimes strong and sometimes a bit frayed, but the ties between mother and child are forever.

I am more grateful than words can say for whatever higher power saw fit to bless me with my two girls.  They have made me a better person, made me laugh, made me realize the importance of appreciating every moment in life.

So even as the realization that my amazing daughters are growing up and learning to make their own ways in the world makes me sad in a way, the joy I feel when I look at them, spend time with them, even just think about them totally trumps that.

Addie and Belle, I love you more than anything in the world ... and always will.

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