Friday, December 26, 2014

The Passage of Time

The older I get, the more I am struck by the passage of time.  The old adage "the days are long but the years are short" certainly has a truth to it: I fall into bed most nights just exhausted and wondering how I will make it through a long week, but the years have a mind of their own and play tricks on me, going faster than seems possible.

My beautiful daughter is changing before my eyes, and this is the most obvious change of all.  At nearly twelve, her changes are happening faster and faster, and some days I think that she goes to bed a child and wakes up a woman, repeating the phenomenon daily as she goes back and forth between the two.  She is often graceful, thoughtful, and articulate, showing great leadership qualities, but then fifteen seconds later she is collapsing in giggles because of something juvenile like the dog farting.  She alternately acts like a teenager - all pop music and "the right clothes" (a category that, as her mother, I do not have access to: I can only rest assured that if I say, "That's cute!" I will hear "MOOOOMMMMM!  No!") - and childish, with a rediscovered love of My Little Pony and a need to climb every tree within reach.

It's a magical stage.  I have access to her childhood and to her future simultaneously.  I am reminded of the tiny child I brought home - and she was tiny, and stayed that way for a while, not reaching ten pounds until she was two and a half months old - and the woman who will one day be my friend, back and forth, all day every day.  She is smart and funny and plays word games with me and brings up ideas I hadn't thought of, but she's also still a child,

On Christmas Eve, she got her first period.  (A statement of fact that would MORTIFY her if she knew I'd written it here, but she has no access to this blog or knowledge of it, and as I blog anonymously I think I'm okay saying it.)  She handled it with maturity, managing the details and then casually mentioning to me by saying, "Well, I just got a Christmas present that I was NOT expecting!"  In some cultures, this would mean that she was ready for marriage.  I am grateful that we are not in one of those cultures!  I will not try to stop time, but nor do I have the slightest desire to speed it up.

We will celebrate her milestone by having a mother-daughter dinner at a restaurant that we've never been to before, but is famous in our city.  I can't afford it, of course (it's crazy-expensive) but I will do it anyway, because it's a major milestone for her, and I want her to embrace it, and to feel the marking of this moment, and to feel celebrated.  I am celebrating alongside her, with my breath catching in my throat, a combined shock that she is of this age, and pure joy that I am alive to witness this next phase.  When I was diagnosed with cancer, my prayer was "please let me get her through kindergarten!" and this is so much better than that.  Whoever wrote "It's not the number of breaths you take, but the number of moments that take your breath away" doesn't understand my life at all: every single day is filled with breathtaking moments, and I want ALL of them.  How can I have more breathtaking moments if I'm not here to live them?  I intend to fully celebrate all that is good in my life, so that is what I will keep doing.


I have been told, over and over, by parents "in the know", that "JUST YOU WAIT!" and that when Katherine got her period she would turn into a she-monster and our relationship would fall apart, or at least in the months leading up to the event things would be terrible.  My mother - not realizing that the event had already happened - actually said as much again just yesterday.  I have never been so happy to prove everyone wrong.  My relationship with Katherine has never been better, and I have deep faith that we will continue on this path.


Bryan hasn't lived in this house for two and a half years - both a blink of an eye and an eternity.  This Christmas, his presence at the holiday and in my home was a non-issue for me.  I actually told Katherine, "I hope you don't think that this is weird, but now Dad feels like just another part of the family, like my brother or my cousin.  I can't imagine being married to him anymore, but it's easy to have him around."  Katherine laughed and said that was fine and that she was glad we don't argue anymore.  Me too, sweetheart, me too.


Another year is nearly ready to be put to rest.  This weekend, I will put away all of the Christmas clutter, sweep away the needles from the tree, plump up the pillows, and face the new year head on.  This in-between time is always a time of reflection for me, remembering the highlights and lowlights of the year behind, and dreaming of the year ahead.

I want to live my life fully in every way.  I want to feel my life, to savor it, to notice its happenings.  I want to celebrate every single tiny thing that is worth celebrating, and I do not wish to be be afraid to mourn what must be mourned.  Most of all, I want to notice how much excess of celebration I have been granted, so that I can see that the mourning is not so hard.

Happy in-between time to you, too.  As we put away the contents of 2014 and look ahead to 2015, I hope that you have more to celebrate than to mourn as well.

1 comment:

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