One of my BFF’s daughters turned 16 today.
Sixteen. How is that possible already? I told her that I remember so clearly meeting her for the first time at a new job, and she was pregnant with that same baby girl. She confessed to me that her daughter held up her old Brownie’s sash last night, and my BFF started sobbing. Our children don’t understand when we have meltdowns like that, but it is just gonna happen, we can’t help it.
It is hard not to look at any of our quickly growing kids and immediately remember them as those adorable little toddlers, clinging to your hand, climbing in to your lap… when you were their world. I tell my son that it will be so hard for me when he no longer wants to spend time with me. He sweetly says “don’t worry, mom, I’ll always love you. And I’ll always give you hugs – just not in front of my friends.”
My stepsons are both now in their late-20’s. My nephews are all teenagers. Most of my friends, including me, have children ranging in age from 10 – 20. What hits me the hardest is that our kids are now at the ages that I most easily remember BEING myself – and it doesn’t feel that long ago! I remember my teen years so clearly, my college years crisply (well, mostly!), as if it really wasn’t that long ago…. And now our kids are that age, experiencing all those things we experienced?!?! WHAT?!?
Of course, I cling to the belief that we have not aged as fast as they have. We still look young, hip, and cool. (Yes, I do realize I have aged myself simply by using words like hip and cool). A few things have changed of course, like our taste in music, our clothing styles, our sleep habits, our hot flashes, and the fact that now instead of checking out cute young men, we are checking out their hot fathers. Even though I complain about the visible and physical effects of aging on my body, inside I really don’t feel that much older. Except for the fact that I am calmer, much more at peace with who I am, clearer about what is important in life, and much more confident.
There is that great phrase “youth is wasted on the young”. Yes, in so many ways, that feels true. And yet, you couldn’t pay me to go back to that teen angst, the internal/emotional struggles of “coming of age.”
Nope, I’d only want to go back to being young knowing what I know now, with the confidence I have at this point in my life. So, to all of us Real Women out there with kids who are growing up MUCH too fast…. Let’s hug those teenagers and tell them to enjoy their youth while they have it, squeeze all they can out of life….and reassure them that guess what, it really does get better.
As I sit here and read this, I laugh and I’m grateful that i am not the only one who has all these emotions over my child growing so fast. I made the biggest mistake a parent could make and made her my whole world, so now comes the time in life when i have to let go. It has not been easy, but everyday i’m inching closer. I also feel like it was just yesterday i was her age, but would not want to do it again either. I am very proud to be her mom, she makes me smile with her silly personality. That today is not an easy thing for our kids.