Thursday, November 29, 2007

Growing Up

Children are the most precious gifts we get in life, and they are also the creatures that test us to our most extreme limits. This unique dichotomy, the stretch between extreme love and intense frustration helps us grow in intelligence and spirituality in ways we never believed possible. One of the milestones of this journey of learning, the pain and joy, happens during the teenage years as these little individuals, so attached and dependent, morph into hairy, voice-altered, oddly-styled humans who stand on their own two legs, which may be clothed in hiking boots or sequined shoes depending on the model you happen to have.

There are moments of maturity that catch me by surprise. There was the time I came home from the grocery store and Daniel got up from the table to help bring in the bags from the car. Unprompted.

There was the time that Nora knew I was exhausted from getting up in the middle of the night to check Daniel's blood sugar, and she cleaned the kitchen while I snoozed.

There was that moment that Daniel held a syringe to his abdomen for the first time, and his dad and I said, "just do it quickly, don't think about it" and he said, "wait... I'm almost ready." A few minutes later, he was ready. And he never looked back.

Nora is 85% tomboy; she wears t-shirts and sweat pants and plays football as well as the guys, but the t-shirts may have rainbows on them and they will probably match the pants. She cuts her hair short, but keeps sparkly studs in her pierced ears. She prefers comfortable shoes to the pointy toed ones that her friends wear, but it takes her HOURS to shop for something perfect. And all this leads up to...

I bought her an outfit to wear to the theater because her class was going on a field trip and they had to dress appropriately. At first Nora railed against the fact that she couldn't wear jeans because they were, in her opinion, NOT casual. They looked nice. But I found a swirly-patterned red/black/white top with some black velveteen pants. Colors bright and bold, just like her personality. She tried them on and my tomboy disappeared. A young woman, the person she is changing into, stepped in front of me and took my breath away.

I experienced this weird, magical moment where I could see her crawling on the floor, banging on tupperware, and at the same time, waving goodbye in a new suit on her way to work. My eyes teared up and my heart hiccuped. Two of my three children are accelerating their process of becoming.

I really do try to let go, to let it happen. To let time flow over me easily. Sometimes I get in the car and turn on the radio, and the Talking Heads are followed by the Go Gos and I feel like I'm that person I was in the 80's on my way to a party, even though the vehicle carrying me is a minivan. Then I come back to myself, and laugh as I realize that my kids are in the back and singing with me. They know all the words, just as I did, just as I taught them.

I do everything I can, as a parent, to give my children the tools they need to live their own lives. At the same time I can hardly bear to let them go.


Shannon said...

Ahh. I'm so PMSing today, so I got emotional reading this.

Do you think she's going to morph from a tomboy to a girly girl now that she wore girly clothes?

I was and still am a jeans kind of gal myself.

Naomi said...

I'm emotional and I don't PMS anymore! I think she'll always enjoy tomboy stuff -- roughhousing and sports, building things with tools & doing house maintenance (all of which she enjoys!). But she liked the way she looked in her new outfit. So... time will tell...

Vivian said...

Kids are so hard on the heart, aren't they? I was so nodding my head in agreement through the whole post. lol