It seems like we’re always passing milestones and I’m always talking about milestones and I’m always thinking about milestones.
Yesterday, Nora was twelve weeks old. She snuggled on my chest and she feels heavy now. It used to be that she didn’t feel heavy at all. I remember the first time I held her and she was so impossibly small.
But now she is weighty in my arms. And I count every day of the last twelve weeks as joy. Every day.
I think about milestones and how I’m always passing them. I remember when Julia was a baby and every month brought new discoveries and changes and how exciting it all was. I was always looking forward to the next milestone, the next month.
And then I had Aubrey and then Chase and I wanted those milestones to slow down some because it seriously goes by so fast. I thought then that Chase would be my last baby and I grieved as much as rejoiced when we passed from one milestone to the next.
Now I have these three little girls and milestones are even more bittersweet. I am proud and excited as they grow and change. I love seeing them turn into little people, less extensions of me and more just who they are made to be.
But these milestones mean that they are all growing up and growing away and while I have lots of years of little ones left…I can assure you that it truly zips by and all of a sudden you’re on the edge of adulthood with them.
One of the hardest things so far about being a mom is this: Letting them grow up.
Last week, Aubrey was going to drive herself to Chick-fil-a and to play practice. I felt like the dad in this commercial:
Because as she was getting ready to go, I watched her tying her shoes and flashed on a memory of teaching her to tie. Of her small fingers fumbling the laces, learning, trying. I saw my little Aubrey, my five year old Aubrey…and I’m supposed to just wave cheefully good bye as she drives away?
She’s still my baby.
But yes, the answer is yes. We can’t live in fear for our children. That’s not living. We ARE supposed to wave cheerfully as they go out and try new things and yes, as they fail and fall down and have to start over. The point of parenting isn’t to prevent mistakes, bad decisions, pain, disappointment…the point of parenting is to raise and equip a human being who can handle failure with grace. One who can learn from mistakes, one who can cope with disappointment. People who are eager to try new things. We aren’t raising children…we’re creating adults. We can’t keep them small and dependent. That’s the beautiful, painful truth of it all. We pour our whole selves, all of our hearts and souls into loving them so that they can leave us and live out their lives. This is a sacrificial job.
And so, I watched Aubrey tie her shoes and my heart played a slide show of Aubrey through the years and my stomach flip flopped and I thought I might cry as she drove away. But I waved cheerfully and she did fine. She was brave, she did it and she did fine.
And now she is turning eighteen on Thursday. Eighteen. My wild little dervish who would point her finger at you and say, “Don’t you make me serious.” She loved Pocahontas 2. Her favorite outfit was a slip. She was convinced she knew how to river dance.
This amazing little wild child has turned into a pretty amazing adult and I’m proud of her.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?