Friday, March 5, 2010

This week has joined the last 13 years of my life.

What do you mean it's Friday?  I know it can't be Friday because this was the week I was going to get caught up on everything.  Since I'm not caught up, surely it is yet to be the end of the week.  Besides next week my oldest becomes an official teenager, and I know that must still be light years away.  Right.  Right?  RIGHT?!?

Please don't tell me I don't look old enough to have a teenager because what I desperately need is to feel old enough to have one.  I don't need reminders right now that I'm on the young end of the mothering spectrum.  For this week only I will accept "you seem very old for your age" as an acceptable compliment.

But that is a tangent.  I didn't mean to ramble about becoming the mother of a teenager, I meant to ramble about where my week went.  It started out well enough, but things kept getting in the way.  For instance, when Elise finally decided on a birthday cake she choose a topsy turvey design, which has been quite labor intensive and knocked a couple hours of planned productivity out of the last two days (and the next two, probably).  But then again, she seemed to think I was capable and I'm trying hard to not disappoint.

And somehow it is back to that darn birthday staring me in the face.  I am not freaking out, I promise.  I'm not.  It's not that some magic switch is getting turned next week.  (There is a magic teenage girl switch, but that was flipped over a year ago, so no suspense left on that.)  I mean to make this post about my last week.

It's just that the week somehow disappeared on me.  I keep thinking of things I did, but they were actually from two weeks ago.  I'm beginning to wonder if I actaully participated in this week at all. Maybe I hibernated.  But I know that's not possible because my house is relatively clean ("relatively" being the KEY word) and my kids are dressed, fed, and still alive.  I know I did all my regular weekly activities.  But somehow the week has just spun past me and I'm left at the end wondering where it went.

Then again the last 13 years have spun past me and I'm beginning to wonder where they all went, too.  Long past are the days of cuddling and reading Mr Brown Can Moo.  I can shut my eyes and see that little girl, my first, learning to walk and talk, going to kindergarten and learning to read, looking up to me to see if I'm watching.  I'm watching, I'm taking it in.  I know because I have it here to ponder in my heart.

As near as I can tell, these last years with her will go even faster than the first.  There is no way to slow down now. I know I didn't believe anyone who told me the days wouldn't last, that I would miss them someday, because the days seemed plenty long then.  But guess what?  They were right.  That eternity was momentary.

But that is NOT what I want to talk about tonight.  I want to talk about what I've done this last week.  But as I sit down to write, I can't seem to think what I've done.  It's almost as though something else is on my mind.  And I'm finding it hard to see what I'm typing through the tear filled eyes anyway, so I'm going to go see what Elise is doing.  Because I want to enjoy this time.  I now know I'll miss it when it's gone.


  1. I really cannot believe she is going to be 13. I remember the night you went into labor with her and when you had her Dad coming out to tell us, with tears in his eyes, that I was a Aunt. Reading your post makes me miss seeing her grow up. I've enjoyed the years you guys have lived near me.

  2. The good news is usually they will come out fine on the other side. I know this. In the meantime, grab something and hang on for the wild ride that is teen-age senility. Very good post.

  3. Welcome to the ranks! And I'll be the first to say it even if you specifically asked us not to but "You are too young to have a teenager!" There.

    I'm sorry, I just had to do it because I think we are pretty close to the same age (I'm 32) and my second daughter turned 13 in January. It has, surprisingly, been a wonderful time. Seriously. It wasn't too long ago that I was a teenager and remember better so I know what fights not to have. Being "too young" has been a good thing!

  4. I ALWAYS cry reading posts about kids growing up so fast. Because today, I screamed at Hannah. Today I felt like she was going to drive me completely insane. Today I wished I didn't have to deal with her drama. Today she is only FIVE and I want to appreciate these young years because I KNOW they are flying by. Why is it so hard to appreciate them today? I struggle so much with this. I wish more people would write about how much BETTER it is when they are older instead of how much they miss when they were young. Then I'd feel much better...
    Great post and hopefully next week you'll participate in more!

  5. I understand the feelings so well. But I love the "different" friendship that develops with my kids when they get older. Plus I can raid their closets. yesss

  6. Here's two positive things to think about, Charlotte (though not intended to belittle the pain of a transition!):
    1)At least, being a young mom, you never have your daughter questioning why her mom is the oldest one of all her friends. (My daughter = 10. Me? 50 this weekend.)

    2)At least you're not planning your daughter's Bat Mitzvah, which you'd be doing if you were Jewish (and then I guess you'd have to have a blog called Bat Mitzvahzilla...)

    Happy b-day to your oldest, Charlotte!

  7. I did think the last time I saw you how OLD you were looking, you are nearly as old as my hubby, and he is OLD. I would type more in my comment, but I don't want you to strain your OLD eyes reading it, so I will leave it at this.

  8. So sweet- I love this post. I often think when I'm cuddling with Cassie at night and singing her primary songs as she drifts to sleep that one day she won't want mommy laying next to her and singing to her at night- that will be a sad sad day!

  9. Charlotte, thank you for this lovely reminder to embrace - literally and metaphorically - these moments with our children. I read your post with the name of your blog running through my head over and over: imprint now so that I'll have memories for later.

    Happy birthday to your big girl!

  10. Awwhh! Happy Birthday! I too am finding the time disappearing before my eyes. My babies are kids. I got rid of the baby stuff (finally) last week and cried as I sent off all the little outfits.

    She's a beautiful girl and these last years will be WONDERFUL!

  11. I am a total shumuck for sentimental thoughts so thanks a lot for the tears of remembrance of my daughters and the years that have flown by. So not helpful. But lovely as always and so well put. And by the way, you seem very old for your age.

  12. I often joke about how my 5-year acts like a teenager so by the time she's a teenager she ought to act like she's in her 20's!
    She's only 5 and yet I feel like time is speeding by.
    My dad always talks about how much fun he had raising up in our teenage years. I hope my kids will like me enough to want to spend lots of time with me too.
    Happy birthday to her.

  13. Happy Birthday to your Elise!

    You will find that not all teens are wretched. You will find that, on occasion - though I admit those occasions are few and far between - she will still want to cuddle with you because her life is getting to her. You will find you can bake that cake just fine but remind her Sweet 16 cakes are bought from the store.

    You are just the right age for having a teenager!!

  14. I have been so nostalgic about my kids growing up. It is cliche, but true, that the time flies when you think retrospectively.

    Oh, and you seem old in wisdom for someone who looks so young in body. That work?

  15. Seriously. I can't believe she is only 13, you seem old enough to have one leaving the house already, right? (just blink and it will be true)

  16. Thanks for visiting my blog. So, you have a 3 year old and a 13 year old? See in 10 years you will be going through this all over again! Now doesn't that make you feel great?

    I seriously loved my kids' teen years, it was so fun to watch them turn into the people they had been forming all that time.

    I loved having their friends in and out, and talking into the wee small hours which is when they would open up to me, while my husband slept away so he could get up every day and kill the mammoth.

    Have a great time!

  17. I can only imagine what you are going through. My sons first birthday was so hard, j imagine that 13 is even worse. Enjoy the day, take lots of photos and drink in every moment.

    Happy birthday Elise!

  18. I was reading this through teary eyes as you expressed a loss that I feel every so often. I have noticed it especially with my easier children. I remember a distinct panic when #4 turned four and I couldn't explain where her last three years had gone. I get so busy running the household and "dealing with" my more difficult children that the easy ones go with the flow, raise themselves, and I've suddenly lost years of their lives.

    My hope lies in my camera. Their smiles on vacations, romping in the yard, and playing with their siblings remind me that I am creating a safe and happy home for them. My memory highlights my first baby's firsts, but I'm pretty sure I've cuddled, read to, and had heart-to-hearts with all of them.

    I've just begun a routine this last week that I hope will maintain meaningful interactions with my individual children. I've felt prompted to join them for personal prayers. I want to teach them to form a relationship with their Savior. An unexpected benefit is the intimacy I feel with each child as we cuddle, pray, and talk for just five minutes at the end of a day. I can only join one or two children each night, but as I look over the past week, I now have a moment with each of my children seared in my memory.

  19. BTW, good luck with that cake. You should check out
    There are occasional posting of beautiful cakes (like the ones you linked), but most of them will give you a laugh and make you feel really good about how your cake turns out. If Elise's doesn't come together as you would like, it can't be as bad as the ones on that blog. :)

  20. "I can shut my eyes and see that little girl, my first, learning to walk and talk, going to kindergarten and learning to read, looking up to me to see if I'm watching. I'm watching, I'm taking it in. I know because I have it here to ponder in my heart."
    Sigh. You got me on this post! So bittersweet! We love them and want them to grow and flourish and yet want them to stay small to protect them and just keep all those special moments in our reach.

  21. The cake is awesome. You really did a great job. I too can't believe that Elise is now a teenager. She grew up so fast but she is such a cute girl. I am so glad to get to spend some time with her.

  22. Saw the picture of the cake, wow! That's amazing. Well done!

    As to becoming the mother of a teenager, of this I have no experience. However, I know what it is like to be a teenage girl and all I can offer from my own experience of this is: Find time, enjoy her, blossom the relationship you have together because this is the time that you'll discover the roots of your adult relationship together. She needs you to be her rock, to be her safe place, but also to recognize her journey to womanhood.

    Gosh I'm sounding all preachy, I'm sorry. I just didn't have that great of a relationship as a teen with my stepmom and looking back I wish we could do it all again.

    Also...I can so relate to that feeling, where the heck did the week go? I feel like I lost a few days along the way.