It's been a month of big steps for my daughters. The oldest turned thirteen. It's official now, that "teen" at the end of her number. The youngest lost her first baby tooth. Milestones all around. They're both happy and excited, as they should be. It's me who has issues. I'm so not ready for this.
I didn't want them to stay babies. I'm proud of the way they are growing and know that they will be fabulous and successful women someday. But, especially for my oldest, who just turned thirteen, but looks sixteen, it's starting to feel like every step she takes is a step closer to stepping out on her own. She's going to be great. She's already amazing and she's only going to get more amazing.
Maybe I should've done something to stunt her growth.
Starting out, thirteen years ago, in the parenting racket, eighteen years sounded like a very long time. Certainly long enough to impart what little I know about the world and give my daughters the leg-up they'll need to make it. "It goes fast," a friend with grown children told me. "Savor this time when they are small," another advised.
I shook it off, of course, as the young always do those with more experience. I've always hated it when people told me "You'll understand when you're older" or any version of that advice. When parents would tell me that I would understand someday when I was a parent, I regarded it as shortcoming on their part. They lacked the articulation to explain. Or they underestimated my ability to understand.
Of course, they were right. No matter how articulate a person is when they explain, or how insightful and intelligent the listener, you have to walk this walk to understand it.
All this angst over my girls is definitely out of left field. I myself am a very "in the moment" kind of girl. When high school friends on the socials go on about stuff that happened twenty and more years ago, I'm always amazed at the detail they remember. Once I've already lived it, I move on, for the most part, looking for the next leg of this adventure. I'm the same as a parent. I don't spend hours waxing nostalgic over diapers and ankle chubs. I enjoy my girls for who they are right now and look forward to who they will become.
Maybe this is why they are called milestones. For the weight of them.