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It Goes Even Faster than They Say...

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Riding the waves of anticipation and loss as your little one grows up.


I rarely see my thirteen-year-old anymore. I mean, she just asked for something to drink, and maybe she'll come for our evening walk to play Pokémon, but there's distance. I love her pre-teen soul. I think her humor and her insights are fantastic. She's someone I enjoy having around, someone who makes what we're doing more fun. I have a feeling we'll be good friends when she's grown.


Sadly though, we don't drift from activity to activity together like when she was just a few years younger. I ask if she'd like to come along or have some time at home alone, much of the time she chooses to stay home. She's growing into her own space, which is how it should be. My daughter has her own experiences that I don't oversee anymore, and activities that I don't participate in. Her friendships are not curated and her to-do list is of her own making these days.


They all, the other parents I mean, said that it would go fast. I'd smile and say something like, "Yes, eighteen years isn't much!" But the reality is, it's more like twelve years. By twelve, they have sports, real homework, and cellular access to friends. This means that we are around each other, but time together is less often about relaxed moments of connection and more about managing all the things.


There is a gentle mourning that goes on throughout parenthood. Each new age and stage is a bittersweet process of learning, loss, and happy anticipation. Sometimes the ache is strong, like a hole in my heart. Other times I feel completely elated that I get front-row seats to her changes and growth.


My daughter's childhood is easily the most meaningly thing I've experienced in my life. The hard nights feel like a badge of honor I carry in my heart. The moments blur together and the days are hard to distinguish, but the aura it left behind is what fills my soul with purpose. I would not trade the meaning I've received to avoid the sense of loss that is inevitable when I'm reminded of her as the infant she'll never be again. Those years were intense, overflowing with novelty and immeasurable emotions. It can feel like I didn't soak it in enough, or I'd like to relive it for just one moment, but I am still grateful to have experienced it at all.


That hole in my heart from the loss of who she was, always heals with time. The mending seems sped up by new occasions to see the beauty in her current age. I'll forever cherish and truly miss her at every age, but it is incredible to see the person she is becoming. I am proud, and like I said, I've got a best friend in the making.


Middle childhood was the roughest for me. It was a space where I could still clearly see her infancy, but she was reaching for growth. I struggled to allow her independence. The pulling away began earlier than I expected, seven years old. New friends from school I'd never met were calling, new fashion choices entered, and video games alone were requested. Those years were rocky. However, luckily for her, by her eleventh year, I'd found the new normal, established better boundaries, and accepted more distance.


What I've figured out after all these years of flux, is that keeping our activities novel helps ease the transitions. If we don't get stuck in a rut of activity, we grow together and the changes don't take me by surprise. Pinterest has been priceless to keep things fresh. Also, more kids. Child number two has not had the same resistance from me or surprises for me. Our struggles largely came down to it being our first rodeo with my first child.


To see what kind of activities we do to keep us active together and making new memories, pop over to my Pinterest and see what I've saved!


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