Last month we celebrated our youngest daughter's 9th birthday. At nine, life is fun and pretty and mom is still potentially the one you run to when you need a hug.
But what about when you're on the cusp of being 16? Our oldest daughter will be 16 in exactly 10 days. This is somewhat monumental.
Not because there will be a big party, not because it's a cultural tradition that our family celebrates, but because this is the time she will always remember.
There are days when I'm driving by myself and a Madonna song comes on the radio and I feel like I'm 16. I know all the words, whereas I can't remember what I did two days ago. I'm semi-dancing in my minivan (if you're a Gilmore Girls fan, picture Lorelai grooving to "Jive Talking" by the Bee Gees while sitting in her jeep outside her parents' house!) and for 2 minutes and 30 seconds (or however the long the song lasts) I am 16 again.
Those minutes are easy. But the rest of the time, can be like climbing up the proverbial mountain with rocks on your back.
This is not what I signed up for.
My first clue should have been with the on start of labor when my mind screamed "get me off this train!"
Parenting at times can be so painstakingly difficult. I've been thinking about that fine line of being a mom and still be "friendly" with your kids.
Are we good moms and who is defining what is "good?" Would your spouse say you're a good mom? Would your best friend? How about your kids, seriously, if you could be the fly on the wall when they're with their friends, what is your child saying about your role as mom?
Two of my closest friends feel the same way. Where do you draw the line? Are we too harsh, too compliant, are we fearful that our kids will turn on us and eventually write a biography about how their parents ruined their lives?
Time will tell I guess.
For now, I will tell my daughter this:
Even if you can't see it, we will always be connected. This bond between mother and child which at one time was physical, is still there and always will be.
If he breaks your heart, let him go, cry, eat ice cream, listen to breakup songs, watch a sad movie, hide under the covers and then move on...because there will be someone else.
Real hardships will happen, battles will occur and life will feel unbearable, but you will be able to get through these moments if you realize these moments are but temporary.
When your heart hurts, my heart will hurt as well. :(
Even if you think I don't understand, I understand perfectly, because I've been there.
Know that I will always love you. Unconditionally. No matter what.