Sunday, May 25, 2008

27 Days



27 days of learning that time is unforgiving. Waste a minute and it's gone. Fritter away an afternoon pissed off about this or that and all you've done is lost an afternoon. Last night I was watching the girls play as a slideshow of picture flowed on the monitor above their heads. Incredulity doesn't begin to scrape the surface of how I feel about Briar turning four this year. Four.

If four years can go by in the blink of an eye, then before I know it I'll be watching our daughters at 4, 6 and 8.




12, 14 and 16.

****

Gulp.

****

While my mom was visiting she looked at Avery, so sure and independent, and said, "That one, she's just on loan to you."



On loan, not too far from the truth when you think how soon it will be our job to stand back and allow her to forge her own path. Squeezing hands and biting back my own opinions because it will be her life. I have moments when I believe I'll be able to do it and others when I think 50 years wouldn't be enough time to do all that I want to as a mom. I am well aware that they'll need us beyond 18, but the boundaries change. The privilege of intervention and opinion becomes tenuous, a blend of respect and patience must be practiced. We each have a birthright that comes into play - life, our own life.

Learn.

Explore.

Screw-up.

Run home.

Leave.

Come back.

Or not.

****
We watched Juno the other night, seeing a 16 year old pregnant, no judgement, just the glaring reality that in about 10 years my own baby will be able to have a baby. My brain hurts, my heart aches and my breath sprints. How to keep up. How to make the most of every minute without falling prey to the allure of bitching and regretting.

The more I live, the more I learn, the more I realize I have no idea how I'll do it until I am there. If I do get confronted by the pregnant at 16 scenario I hope I can be as kick-ass an ally as Allison Janney in the ultrasound lab*.

****




*Under no circumstances (says the woman with one, two, three daughters) is the inclusion of that flip line to be considered any sort of invitation or foreshadowing of an ability to cope with a pregnant teen. Oy, three daughters...I was still a virgin at 16, that should count for something, right?

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25 comments:

Heather said...

Oh I'm so with you on this. Even the thought of next year is dizzying to me. In 12 months, I'll have an almost 7-year-old, an almost 5-year-old and a 1-year-old.

I think I need to stick them in the freezer for a while.

Kimberly said...

Oh goodness, do I agree. I think about this so often and have actually read your post twice... and will probably read it again and again as a reminder of how precious and fleeting this time is. You put it perfectly and it truly pains me to watch them grow up, leave stages that I absolutely loved, and have moments with them that I know I will not remember in a year from now, hmmm possibly an hour from now!

How fortunate to realize this and appreciate all they bring to the lives of others.

Your writing is brilliant.

slouching mom said...

Nodding my head.

And -- what remained of Juno after I saw it was what incredible parents Juno's father and stepmother were -- parents I would have wanted.

Cheryl said...

It's one of the things that scared me about having a daughter. Of course, I have a friend who is a grandmother at 35 because her teen son had a baby with his girlfriend. The baby lives with them now. -- It's my latest mantra that my kids are growing up before my eyes. In a couple more years, I won't be the parent of babies anymore. I'm going to miss it. :(

Crystal said...

I can barely handle thinking about ages 16, 14, and 11. I can only hope that they don't act a lot like their mother. :) Of course I didn't turn out too bad in the end, but it is amazing that I got here. LOL

Crystal said...

PS - I haven't told you how amazing I think you are doing post pregnancy. I am throughly impressed!!

Colleen said...

Shhh! Don't talk about it. I don't want to think about it!!! Oh my. Zoe will be 3 in just a short few weeks. Then right after that we'll have the new little girlie. And then.... they'll before I know it I'm going to be a grandma.

Shhh!

Lisa Milton said...

It does move so so fast. Your girls are such sweeties.

(Finley looks so healthy and pink. Lovely.)

In no way am I prepared to be a Grandma in a handful of years (gulp), but I appreciated the way Juno depicted the parents. Disappointed and concerned - yes. But loving and supportive too.

Amy Y said...

27 days? Has it really been 27 days already? Holy crap, Mama.

And one word: contraception. :) Everything'll be Ok... and even when it seems it isn't, it is. Somehow.

Lisa said...

It seems like every year time goes more and more quickly. The balance of doing what needs to be done & soaking it all up is so difficult. My Goosey just turned four and I feel that same way - where did four years go, yet, I find it hard to remember life without her.

Beautiful post, as always, Amanda.

The girls are all three so lovely....

Myshka said...

How is it that most women go through post-partum depression (hell, I go through it and I've never been a mum), and yet you go through post-partum amazingness? Your writing is so evocative, so funny, so brutally honest. Sheesh, I sound like I have a girl crush on you. haha. Hugs, T xo

Meredith said...

"The more I learn, the more I realize I have no idea how I'll do it until I'm there."

This is a theme of parenting. I try so hard not to worry and to just trust my judgement.

When I think of my daughter giving birth one day, I am awed. I can't quite visualize her as anything other than a toothy toddler, but looking at her pictures from the last 15 months makes me wish for a puase button. Every day, I say, "This is my favorite age."

krissy said...

You are beautiful, and your family is beautiful! My oldest will be 16 next month! How crazy is that? Sometimes I think I can watch the boys grow before my eyes. It goes so fast!

Kimberly said...

I'm astounded each and every day that my daughters are three and (almost) five. I can't even begin to understand how this has happened - how they've grown from wee babies to big girls nearly overnight. The future scares the crap out of me and I know the reality of it will be here long before I want it to, long before I'm ready for it.

Great post.

Amanda said...

Gosh, they grow up fast, don't they? I worry about my boys and hope they grow up happy and healthy. (and don't get anyone pregnant at 16! )
Love Amanda x

Lindz said...

That last picture is amazing! I love it. I also love Allison Jenney and the ObGyn in Juno, probably my favorite scene.

Momma Bean said...

You know, it took me two looks to finish this, because you brought to light exactly what I don't want to acknowledge. I know, I know, that's what we mothers do. We give birth, we care for and guide and one day we'll have to let go. It breaks my heart just thinking about it. Enjoy your sweet, sweet girls.

Maggie, Dammit said...

It hurts, doesn't it? It's so scary. So very bittersweet.

This is definitely filed under "stuff they never told you about becoming a parent."

oof.

BetteJo said...

Oh I felt that. Wondered what it would be like, who they would be, would I miss miss miss the babies in them?

For the record, 24 year old boy, 22 year old girl.

Yes, I miss the babies, because they were sweetness in the flesh. Flawless in their innocence.

But to see them now - fully formed in body and still full of possibilities ahead - it's not the same as babies - but satisfying all the same.

And someday, at the right time - hopefully they will give me a grandbaby or 2. And from everything I've heard - THAT is a special kind of delicious. Too. :)

Christine said...

what?!?! do they really grow that fast?!?!?! man, my heart aches thinking of my girl at 16.

Occidental Girl said...

Oh, boy, you said it, sister! How did we become mothers to little girls who are growing up so fast? They could have little girls before we know it. It's so surprising how quickly it goes.

Wonderfully said.

Tabitha said...

Love the photos, you have three totally gorgeous daughters.
I know what you mean about time going fast ~ I have a 10 year old and a 6 year old and it only seems a blink of an eye ago that they were born!!
love and hugs ~ Tabitha XX

andi said...

I still can't believe how fast it all goes. I understood every word of this - including the "on loan" part. Oof. That one had me tearing up a little.

Damselfly said...

Time *is* unforgiving. Wish there was a way to bottle it. :)

P in VT said...

Amanda,

I *love* your blog it reminds me of my family 17 years ago...your girls are just too cute. And plus that you are in the Adirondacks (I'm in VT) I feel a sense of understanding at some of the things you talk about.

My sisters and I are currently:

23
20
18
17...

with the youngest two graduating from high school last weekend my parents were like, "We're just thanking god that no one got arrested or pregnant." A line they thought they would NEVER say when we were younger. :)

You're doing such an amazing job...