spectating participant

June 26, 2005

settling in

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 3:45 pm

Alex is off to camp and I left feeling a little sad that I wouldn’t be there to see how it goes. I used to really want breaks from Alex, mostly due to feeling somewhat overwhelmed by our relationship that can be high tension at times. However, now I really want to be there and see what she is doing, watch how she approaches the world, and be waiting if she actually wants to talk. I get discouraged when she’d rather read a book than do something with me or when she drowns herself in her friends and I feel like I don’t exist anymore. But, I guess that is just growing up. I probably could have had all of the attention I now want and participation in her life before if I’d paid more attention and now it is too late. Well no, it is not too late. We’ve still have a lot of stuff that we can share, I just feel that we are starting to climb that hill where she’ll crest and begin defining herself in the next stage of growing up. It is something that is due to happen and should happen as part of growing up. Now I’ll just keep my eyes open to the opportunities that still exist and continue on from there.

I remember hearing people talk about how fast children grow. In some ways it is true, in the way that friday has arrived time and time again without us noticing monday-thursday of the week. But, in looking at the new baby in the house, still only a couple months old, their is an overall slowness to their growth. The stages move quickly and as the age increases the length of the stage also increases. So yes, that newborn baby will be up and walking and then talking in no time. But it takes years and years to get to the first time at sleepaway camp. It is not so much a mad dash that some people make it out to be, because it feels like it was ages since Alex was first learning to sit up. Those first years are a blurr, the drag race that people feel characterizes growing up. They move so fast because developmental milestones continue to occur right on top of one another. But then it slows down and your angel holds onto the childhood of playmates and school and riding bikes for a while.

I feel like time is moving by without me since I can’t recall what I’ve done during the past week to account for that time. But it also moves along slowly as Alex lingers a child. Her days continue to be defined by homework, chores, the opportunity to go swimming, and calling on friends to play. I know that this time will end, and while it feels soon, it is also months and years (i hope) away before adolescence and the teen years take over. And then starts the new stage, another one that will be passed by with flying weeks but also settle into a pattern and stability of the final years of childhood.

I will probably challenege this idea once I’ve reached the years of grandchildren and will think that it was a blink of time that my child/children were young, but in the moment of now, time is simply knocking at the door like the chime of the clock, a reminder, a marker, but still a long road in both directions.