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Each was like a stage on a space rocket, dramatically dropping away after serving its purpose, so the vehicle could forge ahead to the outer reaches of a universe where no man has gone before.
Fast forward a few decades to the present and, in the spirit of Monty Python, we must brace ourselves now, for something completely different.
My daughter “graduates” kindergarten this Friday. Talk about Xtreme Academic Accolades.
Yet, despite the inherent silliness of it, I felt compelled to reach in and grasp the nettle of its deeper meaning—it’s ironic truth.
And I concluded: Kindergarten graduation isn’t for the children. It’s for the parents.
It’s a gentle reminder to us that—although we live in a world gone mad with the paradoxical parental excesses of over-scheduling, hyper-competitiveness, and the notion of children as precious snowflakes needing protection from reality—kids insist on growing up.
No matter what we do, they are moving up and away from our micro-managing protective grasp.
As a parent, it feels like being on a train and watching the towns and landmarks fly by as we rush inexorably toward our destination—knowing where it leads, but uncertain of what it will look like when we get there.
I’m noticing the changes that I cannot stop—
Feeling Lizzie climb into my lap and realizing her now gangly limbs have elbows and knees that dig into my ribs like pokers. Clearing out the garage, opening boxes, and pulling out her old clothes, which now look the size of postage stamps. Noticing the absence of the sweet baby lisp and childish notions—like the day she said the Easter Bunny brought candy in a Carrot Wagon.
She’s running away from me. She’s racing towards an event that draws her—no compels her—towards the front door of our home and out into a world where I have no control over her destiny.
One day, I will only stand as tall as her breastbone and will have to remain behind and watch her back as she walks away, suitcase in hand, from the cloisters of our family life.
And suddenly, I realize why women are urged to become mothers at a younger age.
It’s because their naiveté, inexperience and—let’s face it—the shroud of downright youthful ignorance that cloaks their eyes from the truth, also protects them from the pain.
Older, significantly wiser, and humbled by experience, I can see it all passing before me like life before death, as fiercely fast as a computer download.
The tears do not even have time to reach my eyes.
I’m going to my daughter’s kindergarten graduation on Friday, because I shall remember it when she does not. Like Steve Earle’s song (http://itunes NULL.apple NULL.com/us/playlist/steve-earle/id57353757#) says, I will watch her “sparkle and shine”.
And tomorrow, when she’s grown up, I will remember it as a rite of passage of my motherhood.
Notes for this blog:
Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), a regular blog featuring commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40. She gave birth to her children at 41 and 44 after conceiving naturally.
She also founded A Child After 40, a new online community to empower all women on the journey of motherhood after 40—via natural conception, IVF, ART, egg/sperm donation, surrogacy, adoption and parenting.https://achildafter40.com/a-child-after-40-online/.
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