This morning was like many other mornings at my house. I woke up at the same time, wandered around the house, made my hot tea, and then went upstairs to wake up my 11 year old daughter Juliet. Through our sleepy eyes we did our morning exercises together. We laughed when we bumped arms into each other and giggled at our awkwardness. This girl is such a joy!
After breakfast, and after she and her 6 year old brother Dylan were ready for school, I loaded them up in the car and took them to the bus stop. After a tight hug and sloppy kiss, Dylan ran to the bus with the same burst of energy that drives him every day. He stomped all over the worms that were scattered out on the road due to the early morning spring rain. Juliet took a bit more time to walk to the bus. Her long curly golden blonde hair drifted over her face as she looked back and me and smiled.
I let out a long sigh of relief and gratitude that she looked back. It does not happen that often anymore. Her life does not revolve around mine anymore. Her absolute adoration for me has now been replaced with friends, boy crushes, and dreams for her future. Oh, I know that she still loves me, but it is not the same.
My love for Juliet has never changed. With each step she takes, I know she needs me less and less, but that does not mean that my love has wavered. In some ways I think I appreciate her even more. These days are quickly slipping through my fingers. I am trying to hold tight, but I cannot stop the hands of time no matter how hard I try. As each chapter ends a new one begins. This chapter is full of fun things: girl movies, make-up, and shopping. But I can’t help to flip back through the pages of the last chapter and feel a sense of longing and regret. Did I realize how special each day was? Did I hold her enough? Read to her enough? Did I stop housework to listen to her special little stories enough? Did I do enough to place her on the path to the person she is supposed to be?
I hope she and I can continue to grow a bond that time cannot take away. May my life weave through her, so that long after I’m gone – she and I will still be a special pair, and may she look back at these days with even a fraction of the fondness that I have for them. Yes, I see her slipping through my fingers. I feel her emotionally growing away from us, and looking forward to the person she is going to become. I have full faith that person will take good care of her. Until that time, I hope that I can continue to focus on the grains of her childhood remaining in my hands, rather than focusing on the ones slipping through my fingers and blowing gently away, forever gone, in the wind.