The last ten years have been growing up all over again, from learning how to be a partner in a marriage, to learning how to be a parent and a business partner. Talk about all-elbows and knees, and if I’m honest, stubborn chin and chips on shoulders. I never imagined how closely raising myself and raising my kids would overlap. I suppose I thought time would give me the courtesy of allowing me to figure myself out before it became time for me to stand at the edge of precipice after precipice with blue eyes on me asking, “Do you know what to do next?”
The saving grace has been that for the first time in my life I’ve trusted myself. As a mom, while I know I don’t know it all, I’m confident that I have it in me. If I could go back to the teenager who got pressured, tricked, and frightened into doing things and say, “Amanda, ride the fear out, you’ve got this,” I totally would, but I can’t. I relive bad decisions I made, twisted moves that were made on me, and moments that I survived by the skin of my teeth and I am grounded.
I’ll give them what I denied myself, not what anyone failed to give me or teach me, but what I simply wouldn’t let myself have. Each question and each touch with my girls I meet with a fearlessness that surprises me. They press their fingers into my flesh and call me on my stuff, but they also look at me without anticipating I’ll be skittish about talking.
“Why don’t ladies let their fur grow under their arms like boys?”
“Will you just get a baby if you have your period or does a thing have to happen?”
“So you did the thing three times?”
It’s a dance, to be sure, and I never thought I could dance.
Each time I find myself in one of these completely unscheduled and unexpected heart-to-hearts, I stop worrying about where my feet are or how I look. I just take a deep breath and give myself to honesty and pacing. They’ve taught me they’ll help moderate what they can handle. The only thing that ever trips me up is my own aging and the impulse to apologize for it. “I’m sorry that I can’t do this because it will hurt my back,” or “I’m sorry I have dark circles.” Foolish and unimportant, maybe, I think it’s the lesson of time.
I don’t want to tell them to rush or to savor, to change their pace based on my understanding as person 30+ years ahead of them on this road. I want them to be kids, want and encourage them to rush and dawdle, meander and shoot like rockets toward their dreams.
I want it for us all.