Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thoughts at Thirteen

Some birthdays provoke nostalgia.  My daughter turned thirteen this week and I can’t help but feel a little wistful.  I’ve been remembering the birthday parties we went to when she was 4 or 5 years old.  She wouldn’t leave my lap to play musical chairs, but sat there with me, sucking her thumb, watching the festivities.  Then there was the Pre-K dance recital that relatives from Ohio flew in to attend, only to have her stay backstage clutching my hand while her classmates did pirouettes on stage. 

It’s hard to see why I was so eager then to  have her venture off my lap.

Every day now is a new test of freedoms, and the apron strings are stretched just a little bit more.  Last week she and her friends wanted to sit far away from me in the movie theater.  This week they want to be dropped off at the mall. 

My friend Sandy has two kids that are now college age.  I often think back to a conversation we had before my kids were born.  I’d invited her to a yoga class, and she declined, saying that she’d already been out too many nights that week, and that she’d rather be home with her kids.   I appreciated her honesty, but wondered how a couple of hours could possibly make a difference.  Now I understand --maybe it's because my job takes me out of the house several nights a week.  Lately, as my kids get older and more interested in doing things with their friends outside the house, I especially treasure our evenings at home together, doing the mundane stuff.  The cooking, the homework, the “Everybody Hates Chris” episodes -- even the rides to basketball practice.    But the real treat is a night when nobody has to GO anywhere.  Nothing is more luxurious than staying home and making soup.  

I wonder if these feelings will go away when my kids are out of the house.  When they’re not here to do it all with – or for.  When I'm home, and they’re both out  participating in the world, I’m already feeling those empty nest pangs of sadness.   There will be time later for fancy cocktail parties, award ceremonies, Broadway plays and yoga classes.    My gardening, photography and HTML skills will never be optimal. I can work on all that later – when I won’t feel as bad about not making it to the PTA meetings, either. 

Happy Birthday, Miss E.  and many happy travels, wherever you roam!
photo by Leah Brand

11 comments:

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

The kids grow up so fast don't they. Mine is just 3 but hugs are getting more precious now and lesser. So I grab what chance I have:). Happy birthday to your daughter.

tina said...

Happy Birthday to Miss E! What a nice tribute to your daughter!

Carol said...

Very thoughtful and touching post! My son will turn 30 on Tuesday. It is hard to believe so many years have just flown by. He is now nearly the age I was when he was born. Happy Birthday to your sweet thirteen year old! ;>)

Anonymous said...

I remember Miss E at 4 and 5 yrs old as well. This when i came into your lives, si?

Beautiful article... I pray that she has a long life and that the time you do have left together befor she is off to live her life, are just as precious as the last...

Jennifer Lecler

TALON said...

Happy Birthday, Miss E!

They do grow too fast. I always can see my children as newborns in my arms...in all the various stages of their lives. But now that they are all grown (and one is married) I don't feel empty-nesty at all. I think the nest gets too confining and by the time they are ready for their solo flights, we're ready to take off too...but I was glad it took so many years for them to arrive at that point because it all seemed to happen in a matter of heartbeats...

Joanne said...

Your daughter's a teenager now, big milestone! Life is filled with so many happy, and touching moments. And we store all of them in our hearts, don't we, as they become a part of our lives? Wishing your daughter a beautiful birthday :)

tut-tut said...

it's always a tug; after taking L up to college, and feeling OK, I was on my way to yoga, when I passed by young mothers dropping off preschoolers at playschool. SOB! A happy birthday to Miss E! your journey continues . . . (ps: I hated that movies/mall drop-off)

AshKuku said...

May God Bless u & ur daughter with all the happiness of this world.... Happy Celebrations!!!!

Ash....
(http://hastkala-oceanichope.blogspot.com/)

JGH said...

Aww, Malay, 3 is such a precious age. Enjoy!

Thanks, Tina!

Carol, best wishes to you-- and your grown-up son :-)

Yes, Jen, I think that is when we met you. So glad we are still in touch.

Talon, I like your way of looking at things - the nest being too confining. It is like that.

Thanks, Joanne - teenagerhood is a milestone,isn't it? I may be calling on you for teenage girl advice....

Awww, Tut- yes, that is the kind of thing that would set me off too.

Thank you, Ash!

Jill said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet girl!

YOU ARE RIGHT...an evening at home with everyone present is a GIFT! Enjoy these times. Mine are getting older now too and I do feel sad at times when they head out the door!

Patti Lacy said...

Oh, what lovely pictures! She looks so like MY Sarah in that first picture...

May you continue to appreciate your daughter at each stage of her life.

Blessings,
Patti