My 14-year-old daughter had a friend over to spend the night last weekend. Due to scheduling conflicts, the girl, a kindred spirit, is rarely available to get together, so it was a treat to have her with us. She came to the soccer game, excitedly cheering for the team.In an extraordinary and unexpected turn of events, my daughter, who usually plays defense, scored a goal! She hasn’t scored in years!I clapped and cheered and caught her eye. She grinned at me and we shared a moment. But only a moment—an instant, really.Because her eyes flicked away from mine as she scanned the row of folding chairs in search of the person she wanted to connect with more than her mom: her friend. She wanted to share the moment with her friend.I understand that it’s normal for her to pull away. It’s part of growing up. It’s “separation and individuation.”But it leaves me a little melancholy.When she was little, she’d get ready to swing high or prepare to jump over something, and she’d shout, “Look, Mom, look at me!”Did I look long every single time at the little brown-haired girl poised at the top of the yellow slide or climbing up the branches of a tree? Sometimes I got tired. I’d look and seem interested, but was I connected, or disengaged?“Watch me, Mama!” she would cry out.I’m sure I looked up when she called and watched her perform each small feat, but did I soak it in? Because the time has come when it doesn’t matter quite as much that I’m there to see her accomplish something or perform a feat. The time has come when the little brown-haired girl is now a brown-haired young lady who no longer calls out “Watch me, Mama!”Look long, moms. When your wee ones want your full attention, look long at them and take it all in.
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Thanks for this. I needed it. My kids have been driving me crazy with all the “Watch this, Momma!” 24/7! Like everything else with childhood, it is fleeting and I should enjoy the fact that they want my attention. Someday they will be trying to get the attention of others and that’s going to drive me even crazier!! 🙂
Trying to get the attention of others–yes, it will be the attention of friends of boyfriends and girlfriends. That *is* crazy!
Harder than lovingly, sweetly watching the millionth somersault is lovingly, sweetly letting go…
it just gets worse 😉 but it’s all good. Otherwise, how will we get any grandchildren?? Not to scare you or anything.
They start coming home again with the grandkids, don’t they?
Thanks for the ‘heads up’, Ann… it came right on time. 😉
Hope you had some good mothering days, Ruth!
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience says
It comes, doesn’t it?
Thank you, Ann…
Lynn Hopper says
I remember a little brown-haired girl who liked to run as fast as possible around the house…and would rush inside to see what her time was each lap. Luckily, there was a big clock over the sink, because….I was often too busy to watch all those laps. And I thought nothing would come of it, until she started winning all those track events!
You are a soccer mom–I was a track mom!
I remember running around the house…and then the track. Thank you for watching me and cheering!!
This is so sweet Ann – and such good advice. Those years go by at lightning speed. I sat at the kitchen table this past sunday, talking to my beautiful grown up daughter – about marriage, children, and moving across an ocean. Tears filled her eyes and my heart was so full. They do look at others Ann, but they always want to share the special moments with Mom. It is such grace.
Linda, your wise words are comforting, that “they always want to share the special moments with Mom.” I hope this is in our future…sitting across the table, looking in each other’s eyes, talking about the biggest events of our lives….
Cheryl Smith says
I love this: ” Look long, moms. When your wee ones want your full attention, look long at them and take it all in.”
Boy, do I know exactly what you mean. My 14 year old daughter is in that time of transition as well. And yes, it leaves me melancholy as well.
These times of transition are probably confusing for the kids. They don’t know it’s confusing for the parents, too!