By Mary

The other day my oldest daughter taught my four year old how to say the letter C. Now she can say ‘cat’, among many other useful words. When I heard her say it, my heart clutched up. I didn’t want her to sound so much like…a big girl. But one look at the glow on her face made me know that the only proper thing to do was to rejoice with her. She was filled with joy to be taking this next step in her life. And so I rejoiced and tucked away the little pang of sadness that was in me.

Last night I was at the airport, saying goodbye to my precious Eldest. She’s going to spend Christmas in Taiwan with a couple of friends and their family. She’ll be gone for three weeks. I’ve been dreading this goodbye for weeks, even as I have been excited on her behalf. Having her gone over Christmas. That’s tough. It’s a first for me, to not have all my children around me at Christmas. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, saying goodbye to her. Several times this week my heart has clutched up, just thinking about this moment. I hoped for her sake that I wouldn’t cry.

But when the moment came for goodbye, and I hugged her close and looked into her eyes, the joy that was emanating from eyes and her heart just wrapped itself around me, even as her arms were giving me that one last long hug. How could I cry when she was so filled with joy? She was ready in every way to be taking this next step, to be heading off on this grand adventure. She was flying high.

Parenthood is filled with the bittersweet, I’ve come to believe. Precious moments when our children soar and we aren’t quite ready to have then so high and so far. There will be times when the tears get the best of me, when the nostalgia overwhelms the pleasure at their accomplishments.

But when I see those moments when their eyes are filled with pure joy, I want to be the kind of mom who looks into my child’s eyes, smiles back with all my heart, and shares the joy.

Mary is the mom of 10 children and blogs at Owlhaven.

7 Responses to Soaring
  1. Cassie
    December 21, 2008 | 7:14 pm

    I keep waiting for the christmas when Brad asks to keep
    aiden over Christmas! I dread it but I know that its only fair 🙁 Keep your chin up and know that you have many more Christmases ahead of you!

  2. stephaniesmommybrain
    December 21, 2008 | 8:57 pm

    Beautiful post. My 3 year stopped saying “buh-bana” (banana) last month. I thought I would cry. = (

  3. Book Chook
    December 22, 2008 | 3:47 am

    Are you familiar with Kahlil Gibran’s words? He said “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. You must send them forth as living arrows…” I forget the rest. But the gist was not to cling to our kids. I was very bad at it. Congratulations on your success!

  4. Nancy
    December 22, 2008 | 11:15 am

    Seems like parenting is filled with bittersweet from day one. Maybe there’s a reason — babysteps. Each milestone prepares us for those really big ones which are to come.

  5. Cynthia
    December 25, 2008 | 5:45 pm

    Those are beautiful thoughts. It is good to know we all feel those bittersweet moments.

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