Don’t look away

by renegademama

So it happened the other day.

My daughter, she’s eleven. She’ll be twelve in November.

She grew up the other day.

We were going to a town in the wine country, to hear a rock-n-roll band. We were going to have dinner first. It was a lovely evening.

She put on a dress, gloves, boots, a hat – and five years.

She wore them like a loose veil across cheek bones I never noticed, on the poise of squared shoulders, soft over eyes that knew something, something more than me, something adults know, or almost know, if they could remember.

She nearly stopped my heart when I saw her in that get-up, so beautiful she snatched my words away. I looked at her and kept on, harder and harder to see it clearly.

a woman?

The second I saw it it vanished, and there stood again my little one, my first one, who played in the sand and still does.

My Ava.

“Mama, I hate you!”

She yelled and ran off.

I stirred the meat in the pan and heated like the cast iron before me. I thought how dare she speak to me that way. I AM THE MOTHER. I thought about storming down the hall and demanding better treatment. HOW DARE YOU. Who do you think you are?

Well I’m a girl, growing up a little, and it fucking sucks sometimes.

A victim of biology.

Fuck biology.

Fuck hormones. And nature.

For taking my baby from me, even if it’s only in moments still, so young. A victim of a uterus and ovaries a decade or two before she even needs them.

I have no idea how to stand near this child. I have no idea what to say and where to reach as I watch her slip away, only in moments still, of beauty or rage.

So goddamn young.

But always moving away, or so it seems, until she tells me that she wants to hear my voice to feel better, and I want to cling to today for dear life. I want to hold it like a drowning man clings to a raft. I want to weave her back into my skin and hold her there like it was and it’s always been.

except that it isn’t. not anymore.

and I cannot.

“I HATE YOU!” the words sting my core because they’re true, for a moment, and maybe I hate her too. because how can I do anything different with this pain taunting me, dangling in my face. i know it’s coming. it’s right there.

losing her.

No, I don’t hate her, not really, even for a second.

They say she’ll come back, after the teenage years. That she’ll just seem gone.

They say it’s so wonderful again, after those years.

They say supportive things.

But what I see is that my daughter is growing up, and it’s all exactly as it should be, except that this is not a change a human can stomach. how can I take it? how can i accept it?

TELL ME YOU FUCKING WORLD, how can I let go? When all I want is one more day and one more after that of our little family and the oldest child still a child and she’s going.

She’s going anyway.

I can only let go, and yet I cannot.

Once again, here I am. A mother. The Mother.

With nothing.

I stir the meat a little longer and remember eleven and twelve and sixteen and how I couldn’t see myself in myself sometimes, and I didn’t know either. “Who do you think you are?”

I have no fucking clue, mom.

so I walk down the hall and open her door. she’s weeping into her pillow. I sit by her and say nothing, look at the trinkets and the papers and stuffed animals. I look at the jewelry and the books and treasures. I touch her arm. I see the clutter, the mess, the thousands of things on the walls. the notes from friends and things from second, third, fourth grade.

the little girl beneath a towering world.

her little haven in an untouchable world begging her to join it.

her place in my home, her home, all I can offer beyond what I am in all my broken form:  a mother, her mother, a new mother I guess, to a new form of child.

I see again it’s all just a series of being reborn. It’s all just a series of recreation, of being tweaked and carved into something new, as I kick and scream and weep for the old.

Just when I was sure it would never end.

Just when I thought I knew what tomorrow will hold.

I looked away for a moment and lost my baby.

 

In her room, I think I’ll join her.

www.renegademothering.com

 

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more stuff I shouldn't have said out loud:

  • Shan

    Gah! It took my breath away when I saw the photo the other day. This post had me wiping tears, laughing and nodding in understanding and heartache all at the same time.

       2 likes

  • Jen

    Tears. I’m a new Mom to a 6 mos old boy, but I have VERY VERY VERY close relationship with my Mom. I’m 33. This tore me to the core. I’m sure my Mom felt this way at times.

       2 likes

  • johanna

    What can I say? I love how you think? Write? Mother? You’re awesome.

       1 likes

  • Renee

    Oh, I so get that. It was the hardest thing to do in my whole life; to see my daughters grow up. It is the proudest time in your life as well as the saddest. As much as we hate it as mothers, we have to let them go. They never go too far from us as we hold them very close in our hearts. I so get the aching, the longing and the tears. However, it is part of the evolution of life. Without it, they as well as us, cannot grow. Just remember that they never really go away, they just grow up…….

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  • Laurel

    So painfully true and beautifully written. When I think about the years my daughter will be lost to me, my heart hurts.

       1 likes

  • Vicky

    Ah, you have a gorgeous young lady.

    Be proud.

    Beautiful family.

    Again, be proud.

       0 likes

  • Sue Menzies

    And that’s the big conflict – one minute we want them to behave more like a supposedly understandable grown up, and then they start to & we just want them to be our little babies again. Spot on as always, Janelle!

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  • Heather

    As always Janelle, your words sing beautiful music to me. I know you have heard it from the ones that have already been there, but it holds so much truth. My oldest daughter is 21…my youngest daughter is 6. I have a 12 yr. old daughter in the middle there. ALL of them are at different stages. All hard in there own way, and yet beautiful in their own way as well. In all the stages of life there is sadness and beauty, growing and understanding of life. I have seen the most amazing things you have written about your beautiful Momma, and your girl will feel the same about you. The same as you had times of pulling away from your mom, you always found your way back. Your sweet girl will always be connected to you. YOU are the one she looks to….the one that shows her what it is to survive in this world. Your daughter has the most amazing example to look to…everything you have been through, and fought to get where you are now. She sees it! She sees your strength, she sees you take this world on and make it work. I know we all fall apart sometimes, but she also sees you get up and go again. She will become an amazing woman, and that will be because of you. And you will be there to share all things with her. My 21 yr. old daughter is my ABSOLUTE Best friend in the world. I still remember her as a baby, and those times were so precious to me, but this time I have with her now is so precious also. Look at it this way…you get the privilege of watching this beautiful girl become a woman, and you get to be with her every step of the way! <3 sorry for the novel….crap I always do that…

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  • Amy Whitten

    Wow- my baby girl is only 2 1/2, and reading this post had me weeping. We have a new baby boy, and my girl has been very whiny and clingy. This post reminded me to stay in the moment and be with my little girl…

       0 likes

  • Eddie - The Usual Mayhem

    My daughter is 12, going on 30. When she put on a summer dress for the first time this year the other day, my husband nearly cried (right before he told me that he plans to buy a shotgun). It’s hard to see the almost-adult and the baby all in one complete person, isn’t it?

       0 likes

  • Stephanie

    Those are some moments, huh? I’ve seen them with other girls, obviously not my own, when you just stare and they transform from kid, to teen, then back to kid again. I can’t even imagine what that feels like when it’s your own.

       0 likes

  • Terri

    What a beautiful post. Heartachingly beautiful. I’m the mother of a 16 month old, and can’t imagine what those future years will feel like. Ripping my heart out, I suppose. I loved all your words, but this:

    “her place in my home, her home, all I can offer beyond what I am in all my broken form: a mother, her mother, a new mother I guess, to a new form of child.”

    What a raw way too look at being her mother. A new mother. So true.

    Thank you for sharing your words-your life-your kids.

       0 likes

  • Shenoa

    Thank you for this post. I love them all, but this one spoke to me on so many levels. As a daughter, a mother to a little girl, and simply as a human being experiencing this world – loss, love, change and everything else that comes to us.
    Your writing is a gift.

       0 likes

  • Katy

    I never really leave comments on blogs… but I’m a newcomer to this one and wow. Wow, can you write. Thank you for sharing your writing with the world. My baby girl is only 4 months old, but your posts always hit me right in the gut. This love, it is almost more than a person can stand, no??

       0 likes

  • Cheryl S.

    Your post made me cry. My daughter is 8. I know this is coming. I know it is necessary. I dread it.

       0 likes

  • jill (mrs chaos)

    I love this.

    This very thing has been on my mind and I haven’t sat down to really put it into words yet. But you so did. My “baby” is 11 and all of a sudden so big. So now both of my children are…just so old. And beautiful and growing big and away from me. It’s hard. It’s amazing.

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  • Frugal Vegan Mom

    This made me cry. My baby is only 2 and I am already dreading this day. I was a terrible teenager to my mom too, and yes only felt regret about it when I got to my mid-20’s. That’s a long time.

       0 likes

  • Marisa

    Makes my heart ache! I’m going to cling to my 4 year old and be thankful she isn’t 12 yet!

       0 likes

  • Christine

    Love your posts, your honesty and humor, though this one left me in tears because it’s the same thoughts and feelings I have most every day. My daughter is 9 (also going on 15, 20, 40 depending on the day) and amazes me daily. Watching her grow and mature is wonderful, but it’s also hard to not grieve for the little girl she leaves behind.

       0 likes

  • corinne

    Sniff. sniff. Hugs Momma! Keep on keepin on! What a beutiful girl you are raising

       0 likes

  • Tarah

    This made me bawl, my baby girl is only 8 months old and I am so in love with her my heart hurts, I am terrified of this change but at the same time cannot wait to see what a women she will be :). your writing is amazing, it’s nice to know other mothers feel this way.

       0 likes

  • Sara

    oooooh…..i went through something similiar with my son the other day. he is in that 6 to 7 transition. about to lose his first tooth and he was lying next to me ont he couch and i could see his little face as a ten year old, maybe 12, imagining him as a teen…and it KILLED. your kiddies are beautiful and i’m so happy to have found your blog :)

       0 likes

  • Rebekah C

    Those flashing moment steal your breath, grind your soul to pieces and spark some hope all at once. It’s an incredible, terrifying, amazing, horrifying ride. Bless your heart, Mama.

       0 likes

  • Miriam Stone Wilson

    Awww, dangit, now I’m crying, woman! Is this what awaits me as a mother? My oldest is six years behind yours, and he still never wants to get married because he wants to live with mommy and daddy forever. No, don’t answer. I know my time, all of our time as parents to young children is coming. It’s the push-me-pull-me of parenthood that begins with birth. Stay little forever! Grow, little bird! Don’t leave my arms! Fly, explore the world! I can’t take the paradox sometimes; it fucking sucks to imagine our children leaving, but seeing them grow into the world–independent, new, fresh–simultaneously brings such joy. Bittersweet, and sometimes just bitter. Hugs to you. And to your daughter. Adolescence hurts.

       0 likes

  • Miriam Stone Wilson

    Awww, dangit, now I’m crying, woman! Is this what awaits me as a mother? My oldest is six years behind yours, and he still never wants to get married because he wants to live with mommy and daddy forever. No, don’t answer. I know my time, all of our time as parents to young children is coming. It’s the push-me-pull-me of parenthood that begins with birth. Stay little forever! Grow, little bird! Don’t leave my arms! Fly, explore the world! I can’t take the paradox sometimes; it fucking sucks to imagine our children leaving, but seeing them grow into the world–independent, new, fresh–simultaneously brings such joy. Bittersweet, and sometimes just bitter. Hugs to you. And to your daughter. Adolescence hurts.

       0 likes

  • Desiree

    I feel the same way ! I love my daughter this age but its going by so fast. And teenage years. scare the shit out of me. I don’t know.what I’m going to do when she doesn’t want to talk or hang out with me anymore. Uhh parenting is rough.

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