I remember the days when my daughter would speak of the bitter side of aging; of moving from single digits to the double variety; leaving ayear she loved to enter the unknown; being one year older and one year less a child.
It appears in this, as in many others of late, our roles have reversed.
It is me that notes the bitter side of the sweetness of her age; her
being that much closer to no longer being a little girl; her no longer
needing me in the same way she once did.
Our roles have evolved throughout her life. I cherished being pregnant and having her protected, with me, all the time.
Her infant and toddler years in which it was all a mystery and an
experience - the challenge of determining what it was she needed and
wanted and ensuring that I gave her the room to fly all while keeping
Her "kid" years with friends, teachers, and venturing that much farther
from the nest but still needing to know exactly where I was in the
audience or when I would be home from an evening out with friends.
And now, now she is more independent than not
She is still a kid, but not
She no longer needs to know where I sit or the exact time of my return, just the assurance that I am there.
She no longer looks to my eyes to find tear shaped love on my cheeks.
She does not note the bitter side of the end of a year or the changing
of her age. She embraces it all. My butterfly is consistently working
to strengthen her wings and explore new situations and her place within
Our roles are reversing. I am learning to be a different kind of mom,
the mom that she needs now, and I move to find new ways to engage and
share her life.
When the curtain closed on two weeks and six performances, it was me who
worked to find the balance and experienced the sadness of seeing her
take that last bow after a dance she not only performed but executed
with delight and passion. While she casually talked with friends and
sat down to finish her home work, I retreated to find comfort in this
new reality with this new daughter and the different relationship.
Only days later did I learn that she too, for just a moment, recognized
the end of the show and the sorrow of not dancing the part again. For
her, it was quickly replaced with the joy of having entertained and done
her best. That smile that rivaled the spotlight in which she stood -
pure, exonerated joy.
How can I not be filled with love for that daughter and every form of her before and that will come?
This then is for her, for changing relationships, for children and
parents learning more about themselves and ways to share their lives.
Here's to a beautiful butterfly who is nearly ready to fly, and a mamma who is thrilled to share in her life.