I don’t know when it happened. When the kids grew up and I am now faced with retirement ads that I actually watch. When we look at the house and say ‘we need to fix this before we move’ or when we look around at the now adults who we once carted and snuggled and fed and loved; who needed bed times and naps; who needed rocking to sleep and lessons in ‘appropriate songs to sing in public’; who were once my babies but somehow morphed into adults, and I hear myself say ‘when y’all fixin’ to move out?’ like I’m suddenly southern and drink lemonade in a rocker on the front porch. I’ve been so busy raising kids and cleaning houses and buying groceries and making dinners and trekking kids to this and that, then driving lessons and graduations and convocations and first jobs and first dates and first car accidents and first hangovers and generally, just living, that I missed when I grew up. I missed my journey into full-fledged adulthood, motherhood and womanhood. Generally, all of the ‘hoods. How did that happen?
I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment of ‘missing’ my growth. It happened when I wasn’t looking. When I was distracted by a ten pound baby careening out of my vagina. And by ‘careening’ I mean taking his sweet ass time because who doesn’t love being in labour for fifteen ungodly hours followed by hearing the words “You’ll feel a little discomfort” (HAHAHAHA) and then seeing a wall of onlookers oohing and ahhing. Ahh, childbirth. And that was the last time I did THAT.
I wouldn’t change it. The three labours. The three births. The three babies that are now trying to find their ways into the world and stumbling every now and then. I’m not missing their journeys into their ‘hoods…I’m paying attention to theirs. I’ve just been absent in consciousness for mine.
I look at the pictures and see the outward changes. The weight gain, then loss, then gain. The progression of one baby, then another baby and then the last chunky kid who threw Cheerios on the floor in great bunches. The relocations. The new friends. The old friends. The new neighbourhood. The hair gets lighter, then lighter then *gasp* grey! The glory of discovering ‘the perfect shade of red’….
Maybe I haven’t missed my growing up, but have simply participated in less mindful way. That’s a new term I’m learning. Mindfulness. Maybe I haven’t been so much AWARE of my growth, as I have actually grown. That could be it. I must have matured and grown emotionally after all of these twenty five years of being Mommy, Mom, Maaaaaammmmmm!!! It isn’t possible to stay stagnant without some semblance of inward enlightenment from all of the nights of illness, worry, fights, battles and dolls thrown down the hall in outward defiance of ‘get to your room’. (That was D1 in all of her 7 year old will) There has to be some sage, some wisdom from raising three children while working and staying married. There has to be something other than grey hair and osteoarthritis awarded for all of this middle-agedness. For all of this Motherdom. Wifedom. Womandom.
Please tell me, there is.
There must be some spec of intelligent advice, some all-out magical power that is awarded to us moms, dads and upbringersof the generations that carries us to that moment in our lives when we fold our hands on our laps and say ‘we did it’.
What if I’m at that moment? What if I’m there now and I don’t know it? What if I’m missing it? That would be a tragedy.
I don’t think I am. There yet, I mean. I’m hoping in a new mindful way, I can acknowledge when I’ve reached the point where I can say I truly feel grown up enough. Grown up enough to say that I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. Grown up enough to let go of those babies and watch them move on without the dramatic doll-throwing. Grown up enough to take ma damn lemonade and sit on the porch in my rocking chair, saying ‘have a nice day, y’all.’
Until then, I’ll just be over here while you conquer your ‘hoods. I’m not quite finished conquering mine. I’m still growing up.