Monday, November 8, 2010

what eight looks like

I just returned from a reading conference in St. Louis. It was wonderful; challenging and inspiring with lots of good times with friends. Turns out, the nicer the hotel, the more they want to charge you for WiFi. Bummer.

what eight looks like

Tonight is the last night Sloane will be 8. Like every year, I feel sad. I'll likely go sit beside her bed tonight and cry. It seems to me that parenting is just one long, long river of letting go. Eventually, I know, that river will lead to an ocean and she'll be gone. The thought breaks my heart.

Jeffrey would say that I'm borrowing sadness and to enjoy today, right now. And I will. But, still. I am already missing my little girl. I am already missing eight.

I miss those endlessly long legs and toe nails that always seem to be only half painted. I miss the surprising mixture of excellent conversation and Arthur videos. I miss a warm little body crawling in bed with us after a bad dream, and the way she pretends to still be asleep so we can wake her up. I miss first time roller-coaster rides and the way she used to fit on my lap. I miss silly knock-knock jokes that make no sense and me always being the one to mess up on the hand clapping games. I miss A to Z Mysteries and a bed full of stuffies that all end up on the floor by morning. I miss eight.

It's not gone yet, but I can feel it slipping away, becoming a precious memory. Like the smell of her just after her bath or the delighted gurgles after blowing on her belly. That long, long river rolls on and on. And so I cry a little and take lots of pictures. And try to write a few words that will capture what it felt like, just exactly now, when my sweet girl was 8.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow I'll be simply delighted to wake up my nine year old and enjoy another year with her. A year completely different and yet so much the same. A year full of laughing and loving and silliness and play. A year of love.

It's good to be Momma.

30 comments:

Georgianna said...

Thank you for sharing these most poignant thoughts, Relyn. You have captured with them a bit of the essence of this year and will always have them to look back on, as the three of you move forward into the future. Wishing your dear girl a very special 9th birthday. She's already blessed to have you and Jeffrey for parents. xo

Joanna said...

Beautiful thoughts. Bitter sweet indeed.

Many happy returns to beautiful Sloane!

x

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

This is just so beautiful Relyn. I just saw Motherhood the movie over the weekend (it was on cable) and she was going through something kind of similar--it's so touching and bittersweet. I can tell you're a wonderful mother!

xo Mary Jo

Jeanne said...

Enjoy her every single moment she is with you as when they leave it is so sad and heartbreaking a silent home without the sound of your child is so lonely to me.............
Love you

Jeanne said...

Happy Birthday to your precious child. Love you

willow said...

Happy Birthday to your beautiful Sloane. She's lucky to have you for a mother. xx

The Hausfrau said...

I couldn't quite read every word of this, because it hits so close to home; my two are growing so very quickly! I know how you feel, friend. Enjoying celebrating year 9 with your lovely Sloane!

Jennifer Richardson said...

Dazzling mother's heart!
So sweet to see a mom
really drink, to the last drop,
the cup of her child's days.
What a gift
you are
to your daughter.
My whole heart
is smiling:)
-Jennifer

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Happy Birthday to your remarkable girl!

I always feel this way on E's birthdays, but take comfort in this line I got from Anne Lamott about her son Sam..she said "When I watch Sam sleep, I see every age he's ever been." and I just love that, hold onto that.

What a wonderful mother you are!

Tracy said...

Oh, you sweet Momma... it's Ok to cry, to mourn-celebrate at the same time. Shedding a tear with you. 8 is a special year. But 9 will be too. Wishing Sloane, and all of you, a sweet 9th year. :o) ((BIG HUGS))

Dawn said...

Such sweet words! There's much to miss about childhood, but so much to enjoy as they grow up! And I wish that someone would explain to me why wifi costs at costlier hotels. So annoying.

Debby said...

Said so sweetly........I used to feel that way, and I probably will again with my grandchildren. I love the adults that my children have turned into. Sometimes while reading blogs or observing I wish for those days long since past. Childhood is just magical and so innocent.

ELK said...

tears dropping on the keys in understanding ..you are amazing

Suz said...

We all getcha...so go ahead and have your moment(s)

Oliag said...

I can feel and empathise with your sadness Relyn...saying goodbye to one age and hello to the next is bitter sweet. Happy Birthday to sweet Sloan!

Roban said...

What sweet, sweet words, and I completely understand your feelings. I'm holding on tight, myself, and am feeling the surge of the river get stronger each day.

Can I come cry with you?

Tracy said...

Ohhh...happy 9th birthday to Sloane! Life does go by fast. Enjoy every second. xxoo

Rita said...

Just nine years ago, I was watching for her to be born on my birthday. She didn't make it till two days later and oh how I have enjoyed sharing our birthdays together for the last few years. I already miss that. I know you will miss her as she grows up, but then your relationship will change and it will be even more special to share with her life. Happy Birthday, Sloane. I love you. And I love you too, my dear niece.

Char said...

beautiful and i just adore that shot.

and yes...i agree about the hotel.

dutchbaby said...

I miss eight too, and that was eleven and eight years ago. It is smack dab in the middle of those golden years of grade school. But I also miss nine and ten, eleven, twelve... They are all so incredibly missable. But more than missing them, I love to celebrate those years and smile when I think back on them. Sharpen the good parts, fade out the difficult parts. Just when you think you can't possibly be more proud, they to more things to make you even prouder. I look forward to what they will do next.

dutchbaby said...

Oh, and of course "Happy Birthday" to your sweet girl!

Lubna said...

Happy Birthday, Sloane. Hope you have the best year ever.

Jeanie said...

Oh, I remember those bittersweet celebrations -- loving them, loving watching them grow up and yet, oh -- you just want to hold on. I hope Sloane's birthday was simply lovely!

Gayle said...

Happy Belated Birthday to Sloane! Relyn, my heart is right there with your heart. My "babies" are 17, 14 (nearly 15) and 13. I know that when September rolls around and I drop my oldest son off at college, it will be so, so difficult. Sigh.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Love and lovely...it shows in your words how much she is loved...and I think that Annie LaMott quote is so right for this post too.

Jaime said...

Oh Relyn, I could cry for you.
I am not a mother, but I have tremendous respect for all mothers (and fathers)...for the way they are always having to let go. I don't know how I would cope with that! But you do it so beautifully..you capture and savour every single moment with that precious little 9 year old.
Wishing Sloane a very happy happy year 9!

Susan said...

NO fair! I am crying my big crocodile tears right now. It IS so very hard, this rolling river....while at the same time being the greatest blessing I can imagine as a mother! My sweet "little cherub" of the past is missed everyday, all while I enjoy the incredible view of the grown-up angel my daughter has become. It is difficult to remember that the goal is for them to be able to do without you.

HKatz said...

I have tears in my eyes after reading this. Yes, there's so much letting go. So powerfully when you're a parent, as you show here with all those precious details and memories that you want to record, remember, and hold close to you... but then it's also about life too. You look at people who were once young and vigorous, now old or passed on. You look at things in your home, town, life that have altered in irrevocable ways. And yourself, what were you like? What parts of yourself have you had to let go of? But then as you conclude in your post, the future has so much promise too and is beautiful to look forward to, with fresh new things to experience together and memories to make that will last a life time.

I hope your daughter had a wonderful birthday, and loves her new age and new year as she's loved the others.

Bee said...

Oh, so beautifully expressed -- and I understand PERFECTLY what you are saying. Looking at old Christmas cards or baby pictures can make me weep like nothing else. "Borrowing sadness" is an interesting thought; I think that I may be a bit prone to that.

I love that pic of Sloan. (I admired it on FB, too.) She has such a sweet, zany, Harriet-the-Spy glasses look about her.

susanna said...

Happy belated birthday, Sloane! You're number one in your mom's books! And in your dad's books, too! I hope all your birthday wishes come true for you this year.

Oldies, but Goodies