Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Life's Lessons

If there is one thing I've learned as a parent it is that I grow as a person right along with my kids. For me, this week has been a true testament to that theory of thought.

The week started out great! All kids were dressed and ready for school Monday morning in record time! Now knowing how OCD I am, you might think every day runs this smoothly, but alas, we don't typically hit our collective Girl Power groove until about Wednesday most weeks; so to have us all in synch and moving along like a well oiled machine on a Monday morning was a treat indeed!

However, my excelling Monday dreams were dashed around 12:20 p.m. when my cell phone suddenly began vibrating and the name of one of my daughter's school appeared in the caller id. "Uh oh!" was my first thought! The very calm school nurse on the other end of the phone explained that my daughter had taken a hard fall on the playground while running and jump roping. Most children would dare only attempt ONE of those tasks, but not my over-achieving, take no prisoners sir!

I quickly got someone to cover my 1:00 p.m. meeting, loaded all my stuff in the car and drove as quickly as possible, within the posted speed limits of course, to her school. Upon arrival I gazed upon the most pitiful of sites for a mother...a little one, who clearly had just composed herself a few moments earlier, sitting in the nurse's office bandaged up with an ice pack on her eye.

After gathering up my child and all her belongings, I took her home and got her all situated on the couch for an afternoon of recovery. Movies....check! New ice pack....check! Tylenol....check! She snuggled up to me and began the recovery process while I finished my workday from the house. By 6:00 p.m. that evening she was right as rain and was proudly sporting a lovely purple and blue eye.

The next afternoon when she got home, she asked to go outside and play with her friends. "Sure baby," was my reply. I began reminding her of the boundaries of playing all know the drill I'm sure...."stay between our house and the black car", "don't go in the street", etc. My daughter, very politely, cut me off by placing her hand on my arm and said, "Mom, I know it's hard to let me grow-up, but you're going to have to try some time."

Sigh, and there it was! THE moment I had been dreading and hoping wouldn't arrive until my child was at least 30 years old. Mom? Not Mommy? Wasn't this the same child I had just nursed back to health 24-hours earlier? Wow, apparently she's not a baby any more.

Two days prior to this moment, she announced to me that she had discovered "the truth" about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. As I sat there pondering the moment, I began to acknowledge all those little hints that I had been denying up to this point: picking out her own outfits (which now resemble outfits I've seen on Disney and not a Gymbore catalog), fixing her own hair, refusing to hug me in public, etc.

I guess you could say this was a trail blazing week of new adventures and experiences for both of us then. She took another tumble along the path of growing up and learned a valuable lesson about concrete, and I took another step towards letting go a little bit more in order to allow her to live and grow via her own path.

Just as learning not to run and jump rope is often a lesson one can only learn through personal experience, as is the lesson of embracing the gradual process of accepting that my little girl is growing up.

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