It was many years ago now, I was packing away the rocking chair and found myself in tears because to me it symbolized the end of my daughter’s baby years. Fast forward a few years and now I find myself packing away the pink unicorns and rainbow curtains, again in tears as it seems to symbolize that yet again we are moving onto the next stage too. To a time when she prefers dinosaurs and her new favourite colour is green.
And I love that she’s changing and that she is so passionate about what she loves, but I also mourn for the little girl who is disappearing more and more each day. Her legs are growing longer, she is learning multiplication and division, writing short stories and even coding her own website. No longer does she come to me and ask for me to read her a story, instead I’ll find her curled up on her bed reading her own book; no longer does she argue over the colour of her cup but rather gives up her choice readily so her brother can have his favourite; no longer does she ask me to sing her nursery rhymes, yet often I hear her singing songs in Afrikaans and Zulu.
My heart aches to see that the little girl who used to play endless rounds of peek-a-boo, blocks on the floor and tea parties with me is no longer there, while at the same time I rejoice at seeing her emerge confident in who she is and ready to discover her future. I miss those days when she needed me more, and it’s a hard pill to swallow that she is growing in independence so quickly now although I know it’s a sign that she’s doing well and is happy and that ultimately I’ve done a good job as her mom.
And she still does need me. But for different things now, to check her maths sums and sign her homework, to practice her oral. But on those days when she comes and gives me a hug for no reason, or says I love you Mom, my heart still soars and I get a glimpse again of that little girl. She’s still there, she may just be a little quieter now, and perhaps she will always be there in the shadows, I hope she will be but I suppose only the future knows.
The years between the stages are much shorter than I expected. To move from a baby to a toddler, from a little girl to a nine year old. I thought I had more time. It is this sadness and happiness that lives alongside each other in me that I have learned is part of my journey as a mom. I no longer lament it but rather try to accept it as part of who I am now. Both sad for what has passed and happy for what it is come.