I Am Growing Up

Yesterday my daughter slipped down from the couch and jumped in the middle of the living room and said, “Momma, guess what? Do you know I am growing up?” Her smile was vibrant, her eyes sparkled with a sense of accomplishment. I didn’t answer her question because by saying yes, I’d have to acknowledge that time is moving forward.

I still remember her kicking me inside of my belly. She danced in there, especially on my road trips between Waco to Dallas. I would sing to music to make the highway drive go faster and I could tell that she rocked it out in my stomach by all of the flip-flops I felt inside me.

Those days are a memory. Now I watch her dance. In the last few weeks, I’ve caught her meshing together moves with her feet and arms, and I watch as a carefree energy envelops her. And I’ve witnessed other grown-up actions. She picks out her own clothes. She combs her own hair. She brushes her teeth. She puts her plate and glass in the kitchen sink when her breakfast is finished. She says words like transportation and fragile and skills.

It sometimes sends me into panic mode, watching her evolve into a young little girl. So many times I want to say stop. Let us linger in this moment, where you still may need me. Where you still want to kiss my cheek and give me impromptu hugs. Where the space that feels the most comfortable to you is the one that has me in it.

It’s not stopping. I know it. As she went to bed yesterday, she told me, “Momma, I know that unicorns aren’t real.”

I wanted to say. Yes, honey, I know they aren’t real too.

But I said nothing. My sigh held back my tears. I said under my breath, she is growing up.

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When did you realize that your child was growing up? Are you comforted or distressed by the passing of time? What will you miss the most when your child does grow up?

28 Comments

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28 responses to “I Am Growing Up

  1. So beautiful and sad when children reach the stage of so-called “reality.” In order to function in the collective, children learn the socially constructed beliefs that allow for a successfully shared play-space. This is lovely, “normal,” and happy because she will flourish in the group.

    We parents, on the other hand, have a chance to make it to child-mind, to a place where we dare to see the elves, the faeries, the unicorns that we agreed to stop seeing when we went to school (even to film school, much less law school).

    The seeing of what the “normals” no longer see, for thousands of years, was the function of the Shaman (later Priest, then “artist”); to climb the World Tree and visit the “other worlds” and then dance, sing, act, paint the news about what was going on (in what today we might call the unconscious; individual and collective) and widen our consciousness as a group (to please the “gods”).

    Called to write, Rudri, you are called to the edge of the group, from where you watch your magical child dance the eternal dance of change… growing up, transforming… bringing the universe into being with a raised foot… and destroying again when she puts her foot down.

    Oh how lovely.

    • I love the prose and imagery in your words. Thanks for this comment.

      “where you watch your magical child dance the eternal dance of change… growing up, transforming… bringing the universe into being with a raised foot… and destroying again when she puts her foot down.

  2. The joy of one’s children growing up means two things to me. First, I have front row seats to enjoy the fruits of our labor as our “children” evolve into caring, capable and successful adults. True, we cannot take full credit – God and our kids, themselves, played a big part in their adulthood. But, we are their parents:>) The second reason is that you may, if you are very lucky, get to have grandchildren. With seven of them, I am here to say it is the second greatest blessing a parent can experience – I am actually having a chance to see snippets of my own children one more time around. Thank you, Rudri, for inspiring a moment of appreciation this morning. Trish

    • I love that you get to experience this circle of life. Reliving these moments through your grandcildren is such a privilege and so heart-warming.

  3. How poignant, Rudri. As I was reading this, baby 2 is doing her own flip-flops in my belly and I ache to think that she will someday tell me she has stopped believing in unicorns too…

    • It is certainly sad when it happens. You realize that they were in your tummy one second and what seems like the very next instant, they no longer believe in make-believe.

  4. How lovely, Rudri. And there are so many markers of our children in their development – the unfolding of their awareness and joy, as well as realizations that are more challenging.

    You have much to look forward to. Enjoy each moment you can.

  5. I think it’s the small moments when it hits me that they are growing up. Like the unicorns. Sigh…

  6. You’ve learned the biggest lesson of parenting: hold onto these moments. Everyone told me that when my girls were growing up, but I was too busy to really understand that time really does steal our babies.

    Still, I kept tangible souvenirs of childhood, like the tooth fairy bag full of baby teeth I just found in my underwear drawer. How I wish I’d written about precious moments that you’ve just shared, piled and collected them onto the page instead of in a drawer! But I wasn’t writing then. I am so glad that you are!

    • Diane: Without WWW, I wouldn’t have rediscovered my love and need to write. And because of you I am memorializing these moments. Thank you so much.

  7. Sunita

    She is growing up! And from the look of that picture, she’s learning a thing or two from her Radhika Massi. ๐Ÿ™‚ Beautiful.

  8. suzicate

    She is an absolutely beautiful and kind child. Enjoy every moment, it does go by all too quickly.

  9. Rudri,
    First I want to say that I love the picture, your daughter is beautiful.
    This post resonated with me. My little one is ten years old , and when he said that he didn’t believe in the tooth fairy,I was not shocked. But I was sad. I see him growing up so fast and it’s just so hard to accept.
    Enjoy it all the moments,they fly by too fast.

    • Thanks Ayala. I dread the day when my daughter doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. There is something so magical about them believing in make-believe. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Don’t you just love the innocence and the wisdom of a child. This is such a beautiful post – one you will enjoy all the more years down the road. Hugs to you, dear blogging friend.

  11. Phyllis

    Rudri,
    She is beautiful and her radiant smile says she is beautiful on the inside, as well.
    I remember when my daughter, Erica, was three years old. We were driving and at a red light she said, “Mommy, close your eyes. Dark, huh!” I was amazed at her understanding of the humor in that. She had seen the joke on TV, understood it and repeated it accurately. My baby was growing up and it seemed the pace just kept accelerating. Enjoy every moment because it is true, blink, blink again, and then they are thirty. Where did it go?

    • Thanks for this wisdom Phyllis. I intend to enjoy these moments. Because they are so fleeting, from one moment to the next. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…she’s a remarkably beautiful child! And yes, growing up before your eyes…

  13. Cecilia

    Oh, “Do you know I am growing up?” would break my heart too ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a very hard time with the idea of my 7 year old growing up, though these days he is still so babyish and immature in many ways that I *don’t* feel he is growing up! But I do feel the bittersweetness most at the end of each school year. It’s coming up in 6 weeks, and I’m bracing myself for it.

  14. I hear you… She’s a beautiful girl.

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