Everyone tells you when you are pregnant (or in any stage of child rearing, really) that "It goes by so fast". Never minding the poor grammar, that statement can't be more true. I swear, Elizabeth was just starting kindgergarden the other day. Of course, those who know me know that my other day can mean two days ago or 6 years ago...but I digress.
It goes by quickly. Alexis had competition this weekend. Yeah, this feminist, crazy liberal Mama lets her daughter participate in dance competitions. Her studio maintains a degree of decorum regarding their routines. They don't sexualize anything and their costumes are age appropriate. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but by God "Itsy Bitsy Spider" should not be sexy (and yes, there was once a routine for 7 year old girls to that song that was...)
It was a couple hour drive to the venue. Alexis spent most of the drive down contentedly reading her Ramona book, but once it got too dark to read she started to talk to me. About Santa and the Easter Bunny. And how she *thinks* that they might really be parents doing all that stuff.
My heart broke a little bit, though I was expecting this because it was around this same time that Elizabeth started to question it. I mean, kids are smart and they will only believe this shit for so long. I guess I was not prepared for this yet. Alexis is still so innocent in so many ways. I was not prepared for her to give up that magic quite yet I suppose.
Next thing I know, Elizabeth will be leaving for college, Charlie will be starting kindergarden (in the same year, no less...really poor planning on my part). They will start periods, have boyfriends, have to navigate friendships and heartache.
Soon they will start families of their own. Have children, life partners, houses of their own. I can't protect them forever. Hell, Elizabeth is already more independent than I am comfortable with sometimes. I am continually reminding myself that she is 16. Time to let go.
How can I do that though when I still feel at times that I am masquerading as an adult? When things can get incredibly confusing for me and I don't have all the answers? How can I possibly expect them to go and be productive adults when sometimes I am crippled by my own thoughts? When the demons inside my soul threaten to overcome me and I have to fight to get into the light from the dark depths of my very being?
I constantly question myself as a parent. I joke about the decades of therapy my children will require, but the very insecure core of my being questions if that is really a joke. I was just a kid myself when I began to raise a child...how will that affect things? Will my children grow up to leave me and not want anything to do with me? Did I give them too much freedom? Not enough? Did my depression and anxiety leave its mark on them? Are they forever scarred because of it?
No, I am not ready for my children to be grown. Mostly because I am not sure I am grown myself.