My daughter is graduating from high school this week and all I can think about is how I want more…
I want the swaddling days and the warmth of her precious body snuggled in my arms.
I want to smell the sweet breath from a toothless mouth after a bedtime nursing.
I want to see the face that lights up with the happiest of smiles when I reach down into her crib.
I want the rocking to sleep, singing her a lullaby and watching her eyelids ever so slowly close when her body finally gives in to release the dreams.
I want the baby scooting on the floor, dragging her stuffed animal and blanket.
I want the warm bath splashes, rubber duckies floating and bubble play.
I want the smell of baby shampoo and combing her thin wispy hair.
I want to wrap her wet naked body in a hooded towel and rub her back to warm her up.
I want to give zerberts on her belly and watch her roly little body jiggle with laughter.
I want to hear the sound of her giggles when the Mother Goose rounds the See and Say toy.
I want bedtime stories, forever tuckins and being asked to, “lay down with me”.
I want the stick figure drawings and the bodies with no neck illustrations.
I want the 3 year old tantrums when things don’t go so easily.
I want the obsessive and specific Blue Clues shirt wearing days, where no other shirt would suffice.
I want the clay art projects from school and the handprint Mother’s day cards.
I want the tiny soft hand cupping my ear as she attempts to whisper a secret.
I want the Santa Claus Christmas list and the carrots left out for the Easter Bunny.
I want the sundresses, sand shovels, arm floats and the lathering of sunblock as she fights to pull away.
I want to see the sleeping baby in my rear view mirror after a hard day of building sand castles.
I want the little party dresses with the shiny new black shoes and the vinyl purse to carry her giant pretend lipstick.
I want her little hands to touch my cheek when she speaks
my favorite word, “Mama”.
I want dance recitals with sequin costumes and forgotten steps.
I want choir and band concerts and the sound of the saxophone trumpeting so loudly that it scares away the dog.
I want messy partner based science projects and evenings booked for the school science fair.
I want the little girl picking flowers during soccer games and seeing the giant helmet on her head fall down and cover her eyes as she swings and misses the softball.
I want the blanket fort building, American girl tea parties and the matching My Twin dolls.
I want color coordinated headbands, side ponytails and tiny braids held together with colorful plastic barrettes.
I want to visit Sesame Place and feel her grip on my leg because she knows I will protect her from the giant fuzzy Elmo approaching us.
I want Barbie doll birthday cakes and Build a Bear parties with some serious eye squeezing and wish thinking, while blowing out the candles.
I want to watch High School Musical, The Big Comfy Couch, House of Anubis and Lizzy McGuire shows repeatedly.
I want the squeeze around my neck from her arms holding on so tightly.
I want butterfly kisses, tickle backs and glow in the dark, peel and stick stars on her ceiling.
So, this sadness that comes with knowing my child is about to graduate High School doesn’t occur because I am sad about the future. It simply occurs because I find myself mourning the past.
I am forced to say goodbye to a life that will never be again.
And with the mourning, comes a lifetime of memories filled with
the awareness of what I did right,
and what I did wrong.
It’s knowing that even though I am certain I did my best,
I will always want more for my child than I could give.
It’s knowing I can never go back to the past and redo any mistakes.
And even though I have heard for years how childhood goes by so quickly, I never could have prepared myself for what I would feel today. The emotions can only be felt first hand when it is your personal turn to mourn.
And now that my time is here, all I truly know and all I really want is…
More of the past and more of the childhood.
I. want. more.
But, because it is impossible to go backwards, I will hold onto my memories for as long as my mind allows me to and I will continue to smile and cry simultaneously over the childhood memories that we have shared.
So, I find myself brought back to 18 years ago to the song I would sing to her as a little infant in my arms, each and every night. As I hear the words repeating over and over again in my head, I know that I am left with no other choice but to continue to pray for her happiness and thank her for being my light for the past 18 years. It is time for me to step back, watch her ignite her future and allow her to show the world, what I have seen for all of these years, and just let her shine.
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” Harry Dixon Loes
~Heather Lyn Freda