Last spring I went to a dance recital that highlighted the changes we experience in life. One of the dances featured the youngest class, dressed in little pink tutus, performing to a song that just about ripped my heart out. As they jumped and twirled to the words, "If they could stay this little" and, "Please don't ever grow up," the two oldest girls in the program (who were poised to graduate from high school) stood by and watched them, hand-in-hand, with their parents. I can only imagine what was going through the minds of all the mothers and fathers who had children on the stage.
Meanwhile, I held Rachel tightly (maybe a little too tight) in hopes that perhaps I could stop time, if only for a second. And, if I remember correctly, I cried. Of course I did.... I cry at everything.
I know that we want our children to grow up. We want them to experience all that life has to offer, and have the opportunity to change their world. But, why must it be so difficult to stand by and watch them? Rachel is already old enough to tell me, "Mommy, I do it." I can't bear the thought of what she'll say five, ten, or fifteen years from now. I'm sure it will go something more like, "Mom, I've already done it. I don't need you".
During the past few weeks several events (both personal and public) have reminded me, again, that the world can be evil. Not everyone who comes in contact with my little girl will be nice to her. She'll get hurt by boys and friends and co-workers and complete strangers. She won't always win or get a trophy. And sometimes she'll burn her hand or pinch a finger or fail a test or be turned down for a job.
Growing up is difficult. But you know what is even more difficult? Watching someone else do it.
Welcome to Parenthood.