19 Nov 13 years
Today, my first born baby is celebrating a milestone birthday. She is turning 13.
Last night amidst the normal routine of piano practice, homework, dinner and more homework I was compelled to capture her last evening of 12. I know she has been waiting for this day forever (being the youngest in her class gives her good reason to be eager) and yet, I could also sense her hesitation. She is beginning a new chapter, as a teenager now and with that comes all the stuff that we’ve always heard about teenagers (which isn’t all that complimentary, in case you hadn’t noticed). I think with the new found status, change is inevitable, and so comes fear. For both of us.
What will this mean? What is different now? I guess the answer is simple. Nothing and everything.
This morning we all awoke to the sleepy, yet excited exclamations, birthday wishes, and back and forth between us all. I said to my youngest daughter, “We have a teenager in the house now” and before I oculd even finish my thought, the birthday girl chimed in from the other room, “I’m still the same person!” with an urgency in her voice.
I get it. The fear of uncertainty. The mixed emotions about the great unknown. The joy. the anticipation. The worry. The celebration. And so it goes, on and on into forever.
Like with most milestones, this one is bittersweet. I feel that familiar push and pull of motherhood that constantly asks us to love and let go. Love and let go. Love and let go. Although it’s a daily experience, we are so busy living, we don’t always notice it. That is, until they take their first steps, start Kindergarten, turn 13…
It is such a honor and a privledge to be given this gift and yet, with each tug of letting go, our hearts break a little bit. Even when you’ve felt it before and know it’s coming, it still hurts.
I sit here at my laptop eyes wet from crying mama milestone tears. I look back at birthdays past; of photos and stories and memories of my baby being born to now and every minute in between and I can’t stop crying. Thirteen years of loving and letting go streaming down my face like some kind of salty Holy water, soothing my heart, cracks and all.
This is motherhood. This is life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Happy Birthday my precious child. May you continue to grow up knowing that my love for you knows no bounds and will be with you always.