2012 has been a year of milestones and transitions in the Attractor household. Since May, Tall Daughter E has graduated from high school and turned 18. Tiny Daughter M has completed elementary school and is on her way to middle school this fall. This is taking quite a bit of mental adjustment on my part.
For one thing, I have no more small children. Much like when we completed potty training I have the sense of transitioning to a different stage of parenting. Because the girls are 5 years, but 6 grades apart, I have had a child in elementary school every year for the past 13 years. This fall will be the first time in a long time that the rhythm of the grade school year will not be a factor in our home. That is a little weird. If you spent even 15 minutes with Tiny M, you would be quite sure that there are no more little girls in our home. She will be 13 this fall – definitely 13. With older children comes a certain amount of freedom, but also some anxiety. As Bridget once told me, “Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems.”
The everyday things with Tall E are much the same as they have been, but there is the adjustment that we are now learning to live as adult women in the same home. I’m still her mother, but she is an adult now and that makes things different. She still needs guidance and support, but I need to temper my bossiness with respect for her autonomy. That doesn’t exactly come naturally to me.
Next month my mother turns 70 and Fabulous Husband S turns 40. This doesn’t seem to bother him much, but for me, staring middle age in the face is uncomfortable. I don’t think I’m breaking new ground by saying I feel much younger than that and am astonished to find myself in this state. Remember how old and out-of-touch middle aged people seemed when you were young? That’s me now. Those Facebook friends from high school who look so old? That’s how I look to them. While neither S nor I are aged I have to admit we are not young anymore.
The last few months have been a sort of a microcosm of life. Each day is much like all the ones before and after it, but taken as a whole, I feel like there has been a huge continental shift and I am standing on a new piece of land, watching the familiar piece drift away. I’m sure this land will soon become more comfortable and I will get used to our new normal, but it is still noticeable that things are not the same. On the positive side, this season of transition reminds me to be present in each day and treasure it. The stuff that will seem to have been important later is the stuff that is happening now. As the hero of my generation, Ferris Bueller, once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Of course, Ferris is looking a little older, too.