When did we grow up?

I have very vivid dreams, always have, so my girlfriend wasn’t surprised to get a detailed description of my dream this morning. Full of details, names of people we knew back in high school and all the drama that ensued. Brené Brown made an appearance in this dream, even. Along with a rival from high school who always wanted what I had.

And after we recounted the bizarre from my dream – we lamented how much we miss spending time together and I asked “When did we grow up?”

How is it that suddenly we struggle to find time to carve out for some of the most important relationships? I’ve been thinking a lot about it. I think it’s because my kids grew up. I’ve taken a back seat in how willing I am to parade in front of them, because it’s their turn. I have a weird relationship with wanting to share my life but not blurring the lines into sharing theirs without their knowledge or consent. My experience as their mother is so personal to me, sometimes so raw, and while I’d like to be open about it; if I’m not discussing it out loud first, then I can’t be disclosing it in the echoing room of Instagram.

We’re all over the place for their schedules and activities, we tend to their social lives constantly and once in a while we carve out the time we once had for our own social lives and relationships. They go to bed later, so inevitably … we do, too. But more often, we’re going to bed when they do. Because we are exhausted. So the time we carve out becomes the negotiation of schedules and wants and needs of our immediate family: date night is just a pretty way of saying “the parents need to vote on all the children’s proposals for the next month.”

And I wouldn’t trade a day of it for anything. I absolutely love having older kids, as hard as it’s been to get me here. I love my family. I love having a teenage daughter and watching, with delight, on the sidelines as she navigates high school and relationships and making choices.

I didn’t know I’d love it this much. If you’ve been here long enough you might remember how hard it was when my kids were the ages I was when trauma happened in my life. It was a lucid dream sensation of reliving my own trauma but watching them flourish in something so much different, so much better, so much more stable. There was mourning for my younger self right along side championing my babies towards wholeness and growth through the hard stuff.

And now my oldest is a teenager. And such a beautiful one, at that. I don’t care if I’m that mom who has doe eyes for her kid until they’re 97. She’s magnificent and so ridiculously loved. We have hard days, she has mood swings. We bicker and yell, I’ve been known to lay on top of her to quiet a tantrum. We’re normal, whatever that is. But, GOD! We are normal. There’s normal in my life. I get to experience the redeeming love of commitment and the safe harbor of family. It is such a gift, for me.

Even if my tribe is much smaller than I could have ever imagined it would turn out to be. I can’t stop thinking about how getting to this place of peace feels like the first breath you take after being held underwater by someone stronger than you. It’s intoxicating at first, being so thirsty for air. But then there’s this weightless sensation of being free to negotiate your own body in the water, up the steps, out of the pool.

You kind of float.

When did we grow up? I think slowly and over a long period of time. But I also think instantly, and constantly. In the stolen glances as we watch our children achieve the things that are never guaranteed.

And I don’t take any of it for granted. I get to be here, I get to live this life with them. Of all the things I could have imagined for my life: they are far and wide the most precious piece of me. I get to do this. I get to watch them grow up, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *