Sometimes I feel like I am battling myself, as if I am sifting through the stages of grief on a daily basis. Reflection is a double-edged sword. At times it reminds me of all the amazing moments I have had with my children, while other times it just highlights out how quickly my time with them is slipping away. From the moment my eyes take in the morning light, until the moment I finally put the day to rest, I celebrate my children’s accomplishments as often as I pine for the days that held so much unknown promise.
Last night The Tortoise went to Winterfest, her second high school dance. Although, originally a Sadie Hawkins dance, more girls are deciding to go with each other instead of dates. They have decided to make a statement that it is okay to not be dating someone and instead just have fun together with friends. The Tortoise also decided to invite her closest friend, Kay-Kay, even though she lives in a different school district. She wanted to have a night of laughter and dancing with the person she feels most comfortable around. The Tortoise and Kay-Kay met nearly twelve years ago when we moved to Michigan. Her family lived in our original neighborhood, along with three other families who we became very attached. These are the families that made Michigan feel like home. These are the families that helped me be a better parent, wife and friend. These are the families that love my children as if they were their own.
But as the girls stood for pictures in my hallway, all I could see were the sweet little faces of a couple of five-year-old’s getting on the bus for their first day of kindergarten. Ten years ago they were five. Ten years ago I could only imagine what kind of young women they would be, and now they are embarking on the last few years of their childhood. Instead of dreaming about how to write their names, they are dreaming about signing driver’s licenses and filling out job applications. I’m not tying shoes anymore, but watching my first-born march down the stairs in strappy high-heels. And these girls have traded pig-tails and bubblegum scented lip balm for curling irons and perfectly matched make-up. As proud I am of who they have become, I can’t help but miss the little girls they were a decade ago.
There is a relief that they still have each other though. They are each others point of reference, a constant in an inconsistent world. And even though I know that DW and I have and will always be here for The Tortoise, it is important that she also have that one special someone, someone who loves her because she chooses to, not because she “has to”.
It doesn’t matter how much time passes between them either, because it is obvious that each time they come back together, they too see the same sweet faces I see from so many years ago.