“Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once and its string might sail out of your hands forever.” – Anthony Doerr
This June was a rapid-fire month of change that I am still trying hard to process, or deny, or maybe a bit of both, actually.
Watching Your Teen Grow Up
In June, my younger daughter and I left for Missouri and we had a fun-filled week of helicopter rides, fishing charters, cycling, exploring and learning to golf. See 24 Hours in Fulton Missouri for a little taste of that. We returned home to the end of the year and all the projects, exams and studying necessary to complete grade nine and grade 12. My eldest stayed home because senior year is serious business.
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“Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.” Anthony Doerr. Prom night. You cannot begin to imagine the speed at which a child grows into a youth. And then suddenly an almost 18-year-old person with a razor sharp salty sense of humour, lovely caring heart and opinions – so many opinions – is standing before you as you try to capture a moment of time, engrave it on your ❤️ wondering what’s next and how on earth did I get this old? My first child. The one who made us parents. The one we weren’t sure would ever find her way to us. And then a magical phone call which we barely believed was true. We remember easily the first days fumbling with how to get her in and out of her car seat. I spent hours playing with our sweet, easygoing, happy baby when she was new to the world and I could have simply taken photos of her for hours. Cuddles and ear infections, first words, walking, a broken elbow, reading together many nights, Robert Munsch, Disney, beaches, bugs, guinea pigs, questions, so many questions, tumbling off a bike and vowing never to get on one again. Gym classes, a broken wrist, Theatre, martial arts, so many performances, Gradings, an art show or two and me learning the meaning of happy tears over and over again. My baby went to prom with a group of her friends looking beautiful, happy and ready for a fun night with friends who seem to get her and enjoy her silly side as much as we do. Time. I see you. #parenting #family #love #momofgirls #flashesofdelight #adoption #daughters #ldnont #momlife #quotes #time
How is This Possible?
Grade 12. Let that sink in for a moment. Oh I know some of you have been following me for as long as I have been writing here. Many of you will recall me lamenting that first time someone called my daughter a youth. I believe she was actually 6 or 7 at that time. Youth huh?
And then I talked about that time she was old enough to go to Brownie Camp for the first time entirely without me. SEVEN. She was SEVEN. After that I wrote about the devastating sudden loss of my Mom, her grandmother. Sometimes I can’t help but think of the people who are missing from these milestones.
First Comes Prom
Mere days before we left for Missouri my older daughter had her prom. A huge milestone for both her and me, in some ways too. Surreal and lovely too to see her so beautiful and grown up and enjoying the company of her SQUAD that evening.
Isn’t that what every parent wants, the world over. It is, I think, universal to want your child to be happy, to find people who care and love him or her for who they are. When they are little you want them to be invited to birthday parties. In high school you hope they find a path, inspiration for the future and you pray they make good choices. But mostly you want them to be happy and healthy. The rest is sometimes icing.
After ten years of being a main cast member in Original Kids Theatre Company, Payton graduated in June. I will miss seeing her perform. Every single play had a purpose in building friendships, life skills and helping her to grow. I may miss that the most of all.
The Days Are Long, But Years Are Short
It’s a weird thing reflecting back on high school and realizing that it felt like yesterday when she started grade nine. High school is a blink. I can’t even fathom the speed with which her high school years have passed. Four years in a breath.
We busy ourselves documenting all the little milestones that seem gigantic when kids are young and tiny. First time they crawl, stand and walk. First tooth, and tooth fairy. Their first words and sentences and even the first time they sleep through the night, which hopefully comes way before the first sentences.
Here we have had so many amazing adventures. Our first family trip to Disney was as magical as you’d expect. Then our first cruise.
It’s easy to celebrate the milestones of little people, but there are so many HUGE milestones for teenagers too. The day they become a teenager. Then first day of high school, first real boyfriend, first broken heart, first jobs, turning 16, first trip independently with her theatre group, Original Kids Theatre Company. Prom. Graduation. Learning to Drive. Turning 18.
Time is a Slippery Thing
These things all seem so much bigger, because it always feels like time is running out.
Flashback to Grade Nine
High school here began on a high note and my daughter loved every moment of being in grade nine until that Instagram episode which I have written about here previously. But, even with that negative rocky couple of weeks, it has been a wonderful and wicked fast few years.
No Road is Without Potholes
The teenage years are not easy. We have had a lot of issues to contend with at times, from pretty intense therapy for anxiety disorder, to assessments for attention deficit disorder, to having to confiscate people’s phones due to inappropriate use of technology, teen girl drama, a fair bit of door slamming and the usual arguments.
What I see when I look at my high school graduate: my sweet baby, who we first met when she was merely six weeks old, arriving in a carseat we couldn’t seem to figure out. Newbie parents…a little thinner…but so much less wise than we are today.
All the Tiny Moments
So many tiny moments make up a childhood, and yet to a parent’s heart they are not at all little. That first time she broke her arm and I stood nearby as doctors reset it in emergency and then held her hand right before she headed into surgery. All those painful ear infections and midnight runs to emergency or after-hours urgent care. First day of school when I thought I was oh so happy and yet my heart told a different story. Running into a close friend in the hall near the kindergarten room and that moment when the teacher closed the door and Judy gave me a look and I crumpled into a teary mess.
So, for those of you who read this with kids just starting high school, remember that all the projects and exams and late night cram sessions will pass so much faster than you think. Remember too that you will want to move on from some of it. The door slamming phase for instance. I assure you. It passes. Broken hearts and impulsive choices too.
Time is a slippery thing. Hold tight.