“He walks like it’s the start of the world and nothing needs to be done.” My 10 year old daughter observing her 12 year old brother.
My youngest of four children just turned 13 and I’m both relieved and grief stricken. How did that happen so fast, and thank goodness they’re all getting older. I’m happy to see the young adults they are becoming, yet heart broken for the little children they used to be.
Each milestone is met with emotional contradictions, much celebration and yet a sadness we will never pass this way again.
I feel myself letting go against the back drop of wanting to hang on.
I remember my daughter five years old happily playing on her own. I’m quietly listening to her make believe world play out as she rehearses a speech for her prep class. She is wrapped in a rainbow coloured shawl, dancing around with a sheet of paper in her hands containing random letters and love hearts.
She delivers her words with authority, “Parents, mothers and fathers, can I have your attention please. Firstly if you are going get your kids in trouble, please put them in the playroom and not their bedroom. Also, there are fairies in raindrops so whatever you do, don’t touch them. And mostly, just give your kids lots of love.”
I stop. I am on the edge of her world looking in.
Awestruck with the magic of young children. The dreamy realm they live in is spectacular. We call it make believe but from what I’ve seen, it’s so very real.
So many times over, moments like this, watching my children play and grow.
And then without notice the pull arrives. They lift their heads ever so slowly looking outwards. Being called into a world beyond their parents, wanting to take a step off the edge of where I protectively stand.
You can feel it winding its way in if you’re honest.
The decision to hover or to face the change? Letting go in tiny increments as they move at first tentatively away. Mother Nature is at least kind in that way.
Up to this point in my life it’s been okay as I’ve always had another young child, but she is my last.
I draw upon her wise words a few years back as she was playing with our dog. She pauses, pulls her into a cuddle and says, “Summer just make sure you follow your heart girl.” She is all of age seven.
If she innately knows that at age seven then I’m reassured she has the key to wholehearted living.
You love them both. And breathe deep, alot, and sometimes leave the room.
The fairies who came to our garden leaving their glitter behind have gone to find another little person’s place. I’m now in that space alone, no little people playing beside me, making mud pies and riding their bikes. No little feet following me around the house. Silence has replaced incessant chatter whilst we used to bake. Now they tell there is never anything to eat. No more little cries in the middle of the night and crawling into my bed. I am pretty much always awake before them these days.
I’m grateful for the wise words of a friend some time ago when I was contemplating a new commitment on another bloody committee. She said, “in years to come you won’t regret saying no to another commitment for service to the community, but you will regret not going the park or getting on the floor to play with the kids as much as you can.”
I want to stop, pause, to catch up a little.
And time says no.
What about the little hand wrapped tightly in mine, always? Until it’s not.
Walking down the street, aged ten, I reach for that soft hand. She pulls her hand back. I stop. She looks me in the eyes and says, “No mumma not here, only at home now.”
I wonder if she heard my heart whimper.
I’m not ready but I am.
Torn between two worlds. A mother grasping, and a mother moving on.
Mostly now she calls me Mum but every now and then Mumma slips out. We get taken back to that world just for a moment. She looks at me a little embarrassed and giggles, and I am reminded of that precious little girl.
She’s still there, of course she is.
“To raise a child, who is comfortable enough to leave you, means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own.” Author unknown.