I am unsure what is on my heart today, but it is heavy. We are entering into another school year and for my 7-year-old the excitement of starting Grade 2 is contagious. I am glad she is looking forward to the new year and making new friends. I am even happy to be going to do some back to school shopping, which will inevitably fall under my daughter’s critical eye. At 7 she has already developed a strong sense of what is “her”, and fashion choices are always either dead on or an epic failure on my part. Her independence is beautiful and terrifying. I can’t help but wonder when she will outgrow needing me.
She is fierce and so sure of herself. Watching her dive into new situations is a joy for me. My child has not yet discovered the art of second guessing and insecurity that will come in a few years. I hope she never does yet I know she will – and hopefully I will be able to guide her through that in a way that I was never taught. For now, she is able to vocalize her likes and dislikes in a way that is both assertive and respectful. Sometimes not that respectful actually! We work on that.
Maybe that is what I am struggling with – as my dear daughter starts Grade 2 I am realizing that she is growing up. The innocence and pureness that engulfs her now will not last forever. The ease with which she plays and uses her imagination will fade, as it did for me, as it does for everyone. The made-up songs and detailed games and hilarious drawings will some day be gone. There will be a day when the silly song she creates will be the last one, and it will be so devastating because I won’t even know it at the time. She won’t even know it.
I am comforted knowing that her and I have a deep bond, and that she knows that I adore her. I realize that she will likely pull back at some point, as I did with my mother, but I know that we have a solid foundation. I have worked very hard to establish the trust bond between us. I feel that even the divorce has strengthened the connection between us (as it has certainly done the same with her relationship with her Dad too). I have worked hard to tell her that I love her no matter what – there is nothing she can do to stop my love for her. We talk about how sometimes we can be hurt and upset with someone, but that doesn’t mean our love diminishes. How we can be disappointed but still have oceans of love. I think she understands, as best as a 7-year-old can.
There is so much that I have learned this past year, in watching my child grow. I am getting more comfortable to let her lead, and choose her path. So far, it has been in line with what I hope and dream for her, and I can only try to keep the same attitude when/if that path changes. She is a very spirited being, an old soul. I am often in awe of her. She inspires me to keep growing and learning and becoming more attuned to my authentic self. She builds me up in ways that I hope I build her up.
Grade 2 today, and in the blink of an eye it will be Grade 7, Grade 12 and then she will be all grown up. Bittersweet this is, this feeling of being needed and not needed at all. I suppose it is one of those Motherhood (parenthood) things that we just deal with. Or try to deal with that is.
My mug of cold coffee taunts me from the desk, and so I will go and throw it in the microwave and try to get on with my day. One last closed eye-deep breath-reflective moment, and then life goes on.