That thing called life went and punched me in the face again… or maybe it was the gut… heart? It was definitely all three or maybe just one…
I’m not sure why it is that my children’s milestones in life affect me more than my own. Everyone said I would have a mini breakdown when I turned 30 and then again at 35 (I would say I’m aging myself, but having a kid graduate high school actually does it for me); but that didn’t happen on either birthday. Turning 40 in a few years might be a different matter, but I seriously doubt it. Those days everyone eschewed as overwhelming or depressing were nothing more than standard steps in my somewhat ordinary life. No, it was when my daughter turned 16 that threw me the first time. When she turned 18, I’m surprised I didn’t hide in a dark room for days. My son turned 14 last month, is now taller than me and I don’t recognize his voice. My youngest turned 10 last year and he knows so much more about things than his older siblings did at the same age that I find myself shaking my head and laughing because there is really no help for it – this could be an entire post all on its own. I am loving the hell out of watching my children grow and become functioning humans in society, but as much as I am full of joy and wonder at their growth, I find myself asking did I do enough, are they going to be okay without me, am I going to be okay without them… Needless to say, it makes for some somber moments all wrapped up in the joy experienced when they turn another page or accomplish something great.
I attended my daughter’s high school graduation Tuesday night and my world has been spinning out of control ever since. (Not really, but sometimes that’s what it feels like when your heart bursts it’s imaginary seems and spews lifeblood from nooks and crannies you seriously didn’t know you had) My daughter, whom I like to refer to as my beautiful baby girl, is intelligent, talented and already has a solid plan for the next four years. She knows exactly what she wants and I have no doubts she will be wildly successful in her chosen path and the countless other paths she will choose on each phase of her journey through life.
Before the graduation ceremony, I sat down to write her a poem or even just some wacky words from Mom and I came up with absolutely nothing. I stared at a blank screen for at least an hour and started to do that thing where you beat the shit out of yourself because you can write all day long but when it comes to writing for someone you love, someone who means the world to you, and you come up blank? What the hell is wrong with you? That went on for a while before I decided to change direction. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, it was all just too much. I decided, instead, to use other people’s words to say it for me. Words that she would recognize and love because they were part of her childhood and in some small way they helped define her. I am sharing them with you because who knew there were such wise words to be found in children’s movies? Well, actually, a lot of people did. Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t realize you could write a whole narrative of your child’s life from birth to going away to college from one movie’s quotes.
And so I give you my perspective on Adelle’s life thus far told by Toy Story:
There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere
You’re my favorite deputy
Eh… I don’t think those were Lincoln Logs
I’m going for fearsome here, but I just don’t feel it. I think I’m just coming off as annoying
I think you’ve had enough tea for today
What, did you take stupid pills this morning?
Excuse me. I think the word you’re searching for is “Space Ranger”
The word I’m searching for I can’t say because there’s preschool toys present
Who are you calling busted, buster?
There’s a snake in my boot
This is the perfect time to panic!
Reach for the sky
I just don’t think I can take that kind of rejection
That wasn’t flying! That was falling with style!
To Infinity and Beyond
Oh, I hate all this uncertainty
I’m packing you an extra pair of shoes and your angry eyes, just in case.
Good riddance you loony
I also found some great words of wisdom from the Lion King, one of her favorites:
You know, kid, in times like this my buddy Timon here says you got to put your behind in your past.
Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, you can either run from it or learn from it.
Remember who you are
Well, somebody once told me that the great kings of the past are up there, watching over us
I laugh in the face of danger
It means you’re a baboon and I am not
You follow old Rafiki – he knows the way!
You must take your place in the Circle of Life
Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance
Change is good. Yeah, but it’s not easy.
And last, but certainly not least, I quoted her favorite childhood story. When I read it to her as a child, she would stare at me in (dare I say) horror because I would cry my eyes out every single time. I still can’t make it through the book without shedding some tears. The book is Love you Forever by Robert Munsch.
I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be
I’m a proud Mama, and I’m enjoying this phase of parenting. It’s just not always easy to stand back and let them fly.