I watched Sylvia get ready for picture day, and noticed that where my toddler used to be, a lovely, confident young lady now stands. At a moment's notice, she can be ready to perform a world class dance recital...or gymnastics...or a dog show...or maybe perform the song she's just written. You can't always tell about her, but there's usually a performance being planned.
I worried for a minute about who Simon should stay with while I took Harriett to look for a dress for her Freshman Homecoming Dance. I had a moment when he told me he'd like to stay home alone. He's old enough to babysit, not NEED a babysitter. He's totally in Jr. High, and one of the most responsible kids I've ever met. I think he's got this.
That's right. I said Harriett's FRESHMAN Homecoming Dance. What happened to my little shy curly-haired girl with the skull do-rag and the princess shirt that made the biker guys melt? I'll tell you what happened. She tried on a dress that accentuated her beautiful assets, and I was forced to face the truth. My baby girl is a beautiful young woman! She's growing up! It's an epidemic! They're ALL doing it!
Everyone except me! I'm not getting any more grown, but I might be mellowing with age.
I've learned to let Lydia blow her stack a little when she's upset. When she's rightfully angry it's important for her to feel it and own it. I love it when she shares her thoughts with me. I love that she accepts my apologies when I have wronged her, and that she is quick to apologize when she is in the wrong. That little bitty one who challenged me so much as a teeny tiny toddler has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, (tall) strong young woman. I never knew what a blessing daughters would be.
Then there are my big boys. (Yep, I'm crying tears of joy.)
Isaac is a senior. I see a man where Buzz Lightyear's biggest fan used to be. He lives in the same skin. He shares the same DNA. He still loves to hug his Mom until he hears her bones crack. He's home now, but it won't be long until he'll be setting his sights "To infinity...and beyond!" I'm not ready. The good news is that I don't have to be ready today. He's supposed to be walking the dog, but I suspect he's really sneaking spoonfulls of Nutella. They each have things they do that they think I don't know is them. I am SO on to you!
I will miss this someday.
Like the way I miss the kitchen drawers and cabinets ALWAYS being pushed in and fully closed. This was something Spencer excelled at! AND babysitting. AND being willing to shed his own blood to protect his sister from a broken china doll (even though it almost cost him the use of his pinky!) Spencer has been the quiet partner in my life for a really long time. There were so many times he was just "there" and his presence was calming and reassuring to me. We used to watch Graham Kerr's cooking show together while we had quiet rest time on the couch. Now he's in Afghanistan, and I believe he's doing okay. But I miss those days. I miss those times.
Every day at 2 o'clock has been naptime for as long as I can remember. Every day, I can tell when it's nearly two as my head fills with sleepiness, and the memory of snuggling my unwilling "I'm not tired, Mom" nap-protester until we were both sound asleep on the couch.
Not long ago I was in Alabama, watching my sweet little boy (now a grown man with 2 sweet little cherubs of his own) putting his own children down for a rest. He talks to them and plays with them and loves them so much. He's their protector, and then he's the monster chasing them around the room, and then the hero that rescues them and makes them feel safe. I tried so hard to be that for him. He was my very first kid, and I was so young when he was born. I didn't know how to be a Mom yet, but I knew I loved this kid with my whole heart, and every choice was an attempt to honor that.
And God blessed me over and over and over, with the best blessings I could ever ask for! With every new person he added to my heart, he allowed it to stretch and grow and make room for lots more love.
That's what I see when I look out from my shoe, that houses so many children I scarcely know what to do. I see my life's work. I see my mission and ministry. I see my children, and the blessings they bring to me and so many others.
I see Love.