My baby, my first baby, Sunny, really more a young woman now, is just starting the process of looking at colleges and universities. Right now, she has it narrowed down to one in-state university and one out-of-state college. She has a while to choose yet. She'd love to go out-of-state. She'd love to leave home. Go away. From here.
You can hear it, can't you? The sound of a mother's heart being crushed, slowly, as her first born leaves.
She loves us... dearly. I know she does. But away is not here, and she craves this independence and this distance and sadly, this awayness. I think this is good. I hope this means we, her parents, have done our job well. My heart is still sad.
So even though in my heart she is still 2 or 6 or if I try very hard 12 years old at the very most , I help her look at colleges that are not so close to home, and not so close to my arms that are about to feel a little empty without her. I miss her already. I miss the woman she's becoming, and she's still here. It doesn't make any sense. I can't pretend it does.
I will miss her. I will miss her singing songs at the tender age of 2, songs she made up about washing a car, songs she sings with bubbles in her hair. I will miss her confidence when she started wearing glasses at 8, saying, "I'm so lucky I'm one of those people who looks SO good in glasses!" I will miss the trips we started when she was 14, to the senior home to play bingo. I will miss her doing my hair and me brushing hers. I will miss the tears we share when a friend isn't there and the shoulder I can offer. I will even miss holding her hair back when she's sick.
I know I have days, when there's nothing I want more than to not parent.
There are day that the kiddos are everywhere, all over me, touching, poking, tugging, 12 hands, 12 feet, 60 fingers, 60 toes, again and again and again...
There are days that the only thing I want is to not be jostled!
Days when I think I will just lose it if I find another pile of sand on the floor or a dirty sock crumpled in the corner. And then I find another pile of sand.
If I'm patient, and if I just do the best I can to endure, day after day...my someday will come, and there will come a day when I will not be jostled as I try to relax.
Someday there will be quiet in my home.
Sweet lonely quiet.
Someday there will be no piles of sand on my freshly mopped floors. No smelly boy shoes and dirty socks to carry sand in the house. Someday there will be wonderfully clean floors.
The day is coming where there won't be a constant enormous pile of laundry. No little ruffle socks to match, or little boy briefs, or hoodies and jeans and sweaters to wash and fold and hang and put away.
Someday my calendar will afford me time to do things for myself. And on this someday there won't be boy scout meetings, or parent-teacher conferences, or sudden trips to the nurse's office, and I'll have time to read that book and get a pedicure.
Someday I'll know exactly where my hair brush is, and my kitchen scissors, and the fingernail clippers. Because they'll be exactly where I left them. No one will be there to move them... someday.
And eventually, someday, I'll sleep soundly and quietly without interruption, because there won't be anyone who wakes with a nightmare, or tumbles off a bed, or a tooth fairy commitment, or needing a mama to wrap her arms around them to drift back sleep.
Someday I will largely be done with my responsibilities.
And everyday is one day closer to someday.
There's this sudden realization as we look at pamphlets from far off colleges, that the time has slipped away. My parenting is largely done. My impact is now largely nill. My someday is just around the corner. Did I forget to tell her that 3 in 10 teenage girls will get pregnant? Did I emphasize enough how much she is loved by me and how God loves her even more than that? Does she know what the superfoods are? Did I tell her teenage girls are the most victimized members of our society? Can she make Nana's chicken soup from scratch? I don't know. But it's largely done never-the-less. A realization that occurs, and has occurred every every other moment since her birth.
Where has my baby gone?
Is it too late?
Have I imparted enough wisdom?
Did I yell too much?
Did I praise often?
Does she know she's beautiful?
Did I do enough?
I don't have an ending for this post. With the time I have left with my sweet baby, my first baby, I will try to remember to teach more and love more and embrace Sunny more. I will try to surrender that it will never be enough, and God will be watching her when I can't.
My someday is coming soon.