these are the days

These Are The Days

these are the days

Update: My daughter is in college now, but these words I penned will always ring true…

You were so small and I didn’t think my heart could get any bigger when we met. The first days were filled with groggy feedings and doubting that I had the stamina to be a mom at all. I had dozens of legitimate and completely paranoid fears. In the middle of the night, when I was most exhausted, you would smile. It was just me and you and the quiet darkness. I knew you wouldn’t remember any of it. I also knew that it mattered deeply that I was there.

Those were the days.

You pulled up on the couch and took a few wobbly steps toward me
That was the first moment that I didn’t know if I should cry or celebrate.
Somehow I knew that independence was coming and that this was where we would begin to disagree on things.

I took you for your first flu shot and to the dentist and for ice cream.
I carried bandaids everywhere because everything was an adventure.
When you fell down hard I told you that it hurt me too.
And I meant it.

I watched from behind as you rode your bike for the first time along the sandy beach, your dad jogging beside you.
You wobbled a little, and then you pedaled fast.
You went out way ahead of us. I grabbed dad’s hand and we watched you fly forward into a new freedom.

Those were the days.

I forgot a bunch of times about the tooth fairy, and that picture day was on Tuesday.  I missed the note about Wacky Wednesday and you were sad that you didn’t dress up like the other kids.
Those are important things, and I’m sorry.
I sat with puppy ears on my head at the parade and I watched you sing with angel wings on your back at Christmas.
I hung your paintings on the refrigerator and the macaroni ornaments on the tree.
I wore the bracelet you made me.

I put notes in your lunchbox and filled out forms for field trips.
I missed you during the day after I waved to you on the yellow bus.
Things were too quiet and clean.
You were starting life without me and it took my breath away a little bit.
I began to discover new things about you.
And about myself.

Those were the days.

We made forts out of blankets and made messes in the kitchen.
I got angry when things weren’t clean enough.Sometimes I apologized.
Most times I didn’t.

You played the clarinet and practiced in your room.
Until you found singing filled your soul, and then you sang everywhere.
I loved hearing your notes and words float down from upstairs.
And the way hearing your own voice gave you courage.

Kids are mean and growing up is hard so I tried to listen when you let me.
I remember how I was awkward at your age~
How I wanted to fit in and stand out all at once.
How everything seemed so monumental. How everyone seemed to have it together but me.
And how I struggled to find my own voice.

Those were the days.

The swing set in the backyard was sold and you got the very last days out of it~gently swinging there with a book perched in your lap in the afternoon sun.
A trampoline replaced it.
The day it arrived we jumped together until I was dizzy and we hurt from laughing. I’d catch you lying on your back out there after school, staring up at the pine trees.
I’d wonder what you were thinking.

Those were the days.

Your car sits in the driveway now.  I find letters from colleges in the mailbox.
You stand taller than me and I borrow your lip gloss.
I don’t miss you during the day until my stomach hurts like I did when you were in kindergarden.
But I was wrong about thinking that my heart couldn’t get any bigger.
It has.

And these are the days, now…

The ones on the edge of you leaving home.
The days I review all the stages of “us.”

Each has been new and beautiful, scary, and sacred.

I bet when I look back in twenty years, I will say
“Those were the days”

I hope you will, too.

 

 

Tags: No tags

One Response

{Comments didn't migrate from my old site...but that's alright~ we can start the conversation now. I'm listening...}