The Phases of Life

I’m back, if only for a moment to write a tiny post about life and motherhood and adulting and, well middle age. I might as well make a quick stop here because a few years from now I’ll be past this.

Here I am, sitting in front of a beautiful lake in a nearly quiet hotel, just a few days away from my 48th birthday. Sometimes I’m too busy for reflection, but this year, this feels liek a good time and place to sneak a moment to myself to write on my blog. I know, I’m not to the end of my forties yet, but I’m close enough. And the way it goes, there isn’t time to write like there used to be when my kids were small. By the time my mom was my age, I was a senior in high school and here I’ve got young kids still. We are in the thicke of it, almost more than we were when they were tiny babies, which seems impossible to say. It’s just different. Bigger kids, bigger problems.  But this is also the fun time too, the “easy years” as many parents say. My kids are 7 and 9 and we are busy with the school schedule and all the activities — soccer, ballet, tae kwon do, tutors, piano, after school and the big ELA test. My husband is the soccer coach and running the talent show. I am choreographing my younger daughter’s dance as I’ve done for the past three no four years.

Last summer, my very astute and sensitve then 8 year-old informed me that she wanted to wear a bra. She didn’t need one and I tried to protest, but I was also happy that she wanted to talk about it and knew what she needed. “A bra will make me feel more comfortable.” How can I argue with that? If my daughter finds her way, she just might make a good lawyer. No one can argue and come up with an argument like she can. I certainly could never just say what I wanted or needed when I was young, or not that I remember. Maybe I wanted a bra and my mom wouldn’t get one. I remember how I finally got a bra (maybe a year after I actually needed one) was stealing on from a store with my girlfriend. We wanted bras dammitt and our parents were unaware or we were too embarrassed to just tell them.

I’m happy that my daughter has found a way to communicate her needs.

School started last September.  I felt bad that I let her have a bra because I figured the next thing we all knew all of the 4th grade girls will be wearing bras. I as right, but I’m not sure that she was the culprit. At the start of the year, she was one of just a few, by December it was half the girls and by now it’s 90%. See, I didn’t get a bra until I was 12, so to me this is kind of sad. My mom would always say “don’t be in such a hurry to grow up.” I’m mourning her childhood as I’ve been since I cried putting away her 3 month baby clothes 9 years ago. I want it to last a bit longer.

Six months later, she still doesn’t need that bra only a minute more than she did when she got it. But the other day, I came to hug her and I distinctly noticed adult body odor.  She doesn’t like to bathe. Her sister loves baths, barbies and princess dresses. My intensely smart 9 and half year old only wears pants and almost specifically doens’t match. She’s got dreamy blue eyes and beautiful long hair that is always matted. So she’s her own perplexing self, the most beautiful mangled child. Under all those mismatched clothes and tangled hair and sometimes nasty comments is the smarest, most beautiful girl. Mornings with the brush are a fight. I always knew she was smart. I mean, I knew this from one look at her as a tiny baby next to me in the hospital. I was almost afriad of her. She looked up at me with this intensity and all I could see was her angry, intelligent eyes. To teasingly call her stupid is the wrong word indeed.  In school, she’s smart too, likely the top 10% of her small class, but with seemingly not New York (meaning not type A and pushy parents) she lands somewhere slightly lower than that. Sometimes just being smart isn’t enough and it’s how we help her, and how do we do that? With her anger, she also has social problems sometimes — to the point the school got involved and together and co-captains I felt we started to make progress. I hope. Perhaps it’s the education she’s able to get, but she knows so much more than I did at her age, including another language. She can translate Russian for me. I speak a bit, but I’ve never gotten past a kind of rudimentally Russian. My daughter understands everything (without a lot of push on our end).  It’s remarkable. But many of these choices of help, listening, understanding and considering the next choice did start with the mother, with me.  The constant issues that enter the mom mind, I can’t tell you.  MY mind is busy with my childrens’ issues — from knowing the moment when she was 6 and I had to start her on chapter books becuase she was getting bored. When I think about myself for awhile or feel sort of sad or missing out on something, I quickly shift back to my kids. It’s a sense of purpose that is going somewhere.

I’m changing too. Turns out, as luck may have it, I might be going through my life change as my kids go through puberty. Our house will be fun times!  I’m quite hot these days and moody. My skin breaks out like I’m a teenager. I can’t lose weight; my back hurts. I actually have a slipped disk. I don’t sleep. I need alone time; I feel kind of despondent and depressed at times and at the same time I’m burried in laundry and housework like I always was. In short, it’s all overwhelming. We don’t have a regular babysitter anymore, so much more is on me — getting my younger daughter to that fancy ballet class that is way up town, keeping up with the housework and the homewokrk. But thankfully we are a team. I can’t see doing this on my own at all.

With change comes some responsibilty. We don’t have any regular help anymore. That ended in January. I’m getting the kids to help out more, take more responsibility. And so is my husband; he’s often doing homework with my older daughter.

It’s time to go already. But this was a nice stop at almost 48. I’m grateful, really.

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