I’ve learned that as a parent, there comes a time that instead of counting up, you start counting down.
When your child is a newborn, you start counting the months until they eat solid food. Then it shifts to counting the years until they start preschool. Eventually you’ll find yourself saying, “only two more years left in elementary school!” and chances are, that’s about the time that those numbers start to make you realize how fast it’s flying by.
Then one day you wake up and say, “only two more years until they can drive,” or “only four more years until college.”
Instead of counting up, the count down has begun.
It sounds bittersweet, right? That’s because it is so very bittersweet.
Every year we pack up more stuff and give it away.
The well worn and loved board books are gone from our bookshelves.
Bright pink t-shirts with purple stars and shiny hearts are a thing of the past.
The scooters and roller blades sit alone in the garage.
Signs of the childhood that’s hit warp speed.
And yet, in that space stands a young woman who is so beautiful on the inside that it shines through the outward beauty.
Where we used to hand her building blocks, now she’s working to rebuild homes destroyed in Hurricane Harvey without us.
Where I used to go over her ABC’s and 123’s with her day after day, she’s now the one that has to drive her education and she is killing it.
Where I used to hold my breath every time she entered the pool with floaties on her arms, now I watch in awe as she races across the pool against some of the best swimmers in our area.
Where I used to worry everytime she grabbed a toy back from a child and yelled, “mine!”… now I get to hear her do it with her sisters when they take her jewelry or perfume. What? You thought she was perfect?
No, far from it. But she is growing and changing to be a woman that I am so very proud of.
So today, she’s 14. Hold me. Or she can hold me since she’s pretty much taller than I am. She already has to fix things on my phone for me so she’s used to it.
Now someone really needs to hold me.