Last night, I found myself sitting in a darkened auditorium here in Tiny Town, with lots and lots of familiar, friendly faces sitting around me, and one of my three daughters on my lap at all times.
We were at the high school Variety Show, which is basically their spring choir concert.
We go to this show nearly every year- as do many other people in town that don’t have kids performing in the show. It might sound odd, but that’s how we roll here in Tiny Town. We always know several of the kids on stage, and we are friends with both choir and band directors, and the show is entertaining and kid-friendly.
Often at these shows, I have moments where I am a mess: I can see it so clearly. In a matter of years/days/HOURS, it will be MY suddenly teen-aged daughters on that stage.
But last night, as I watched those teenagers perform- so ripe with youth and possibility- I had peace about it all. Yes, my children were going to grow up and become lanky and mysterious creatures.
But it’s ok. Moving through the stages of life is right and beautiful.
Instead of clinging to their baby-ish selves- for even at ages 7 and 3, I can still sniff their baby-selves on them once in awhile- I can let go. I can- and will- still hold them close and smell their necks and cherish these wonderful years of their young lives. But I can also let them grow and change and blossom and become.
I still want another baby- and THAT jury remains hung- but I had a moment of clarity about that too: Babies are easy and safe and what I know. I’m excellent at babies. I can snuggle a baby and nurse a baby and keep a baby warm and dry.
And while the parenting of my older children is scary and new, I crave returning to my familiar safe-haven of babycare: something I am good at, someplace where I can- without a doubt- give my child all she needs.
But as I sat in the auditorium last night- the heavy weight of each of my daughters filling my lap in turn, making my legs ache- I had peace about moving past what’s comfortable. It might be scary and lonely and even awful at times.
But it will also be wonderful to watch these girls grow into their own.