July 26th, 2016
He ran away from me on the playground on Saturday morning at the kindergarten meet up, no goodbye or hugging my legs or telling me he needs his warm-up time. I’ve been waiting for this moment for months now – for him to feel more independent and comfortable in his own skin. I’ve sat on the outskirts of so many birthday parties and crowded gatherings with both familiar and unfamiliar faces wishing with all my might that I could wave a wand and take away his worries about going off into the world without me right there.
And then, it happened. Suddenly.
He was running off with a new friend and I was alone on the sidelines watching.
And I know that’s how it should be. It’s what I’ve been waiting for. His proud smile and talk of new friends, his huge imagination and his willingness to adventure, his lessening anxiety about kindergarten…
It’s exactly what I hoped for him.
She stood last week in front of her mirror, bedroom door closed, Taylor Swift lyrics blasting. She was practicing for her show at the end of her week of camp. Two dances, two songs, a bit of acting in between.
I stood outside her door, listening, trying to get a glimpse of who she’s becoming behind the door that closes more these days. I heard her voice over the music, heard her self-talk about memorizing the lyrics and adding in the choreography she’d worked on during her day where she was at camp and I was at work.
She’s away from me now more than she’s with me it seems. And while she’s away I wish that I could just watch her in the world. Watch her dance and sing and make friends and tell ridiculous jokes and push herself to do new things while I’m not standing right there with her.
I watched her dance her heart out in the studio that Friday and felt genuinely awed by her bravery and enthusiasm, her confidence and kindness, her hard work and her high kicks.
It’s exactly what I hoped for her.
I teared up in my boss’s office yesterday totally out of the blue. We were in the middle of a great conversation about what drives me and what I value and somehow our conversation led to talking about my writing here and suddenly tears emerged and took me totally by surprise.
As I talked a bit more and thought later about why that happened (I don’t make it a habit of crying in meetings), I realized it’s probably rooted in the shift of our story lately. It’s clearly not mine alone to tell anymore. I knew how to write the story when they needed me all the time. But after so many years of my story being all about them, it feels different to write myself back into it, to find yet another new motherhood point of view.
Lately it feels like their story is becoming so much more theirs and not mine at a pace that seems blinding at times.
Their story unfolds on family vacations and family dinners, snuggled up with me on the couch and in big conversations before they go to bed. But it also happens behind closed doors and at camp. At school and at friends’ houses. On the playground and in the dance studio. And I only admire from the sidelines.
This is exactly how it is supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting.