Huh. Seems I didn’t write a post for the Girl Child’s 14th birthday last year. She turned 14 anyway, and now here we are at 15. Already.

Which also means that I have been a mom for 15 years. Those baby days are so far behind me, it’s hard to recall what they were like. I see photos and am reminded of points in time, but the people in them (myself included) seem like strangers or maybe people I once knew.

We took the kids out of school for one day last week to get away early for spring break. The Girl Child’s high school frowns upon this sort of thing, calling them “unexcused absences”. Which I think is silly.  When it comes down to it, the trip we took will be remembered far longer than missing one day of school. And at this stage in the game, family trips like that will be farther and fewer between.

Time in these crucial years is running out and I admit to a bit of panic. What if I’ve been doing it all wrong?

There has been yelling. And impatience. Frustration. Waiting for the bad times to pass. Meanwhile maybe missing some good moments along the way.

A big regret – not enough hugs as the kids get older. My own fault, falling back into the routine I grew up with. I need to change that while I still have a few years.

But there has also been big love, even when we aren’t each other’s favorite person. Silliness. Saying I’m sorry. Encouragement. Growing inside and out. Tolerance and acceptance. Pride.

Fifteen is a tricky one. Just on the cusp, more adult edging out the kid. Needing to let the adult out to make decisions, letting her see where her choices take her while so wanting to protect her, especially in this crazy new world. It’s not my fifteen.

And it never will be. This is HER world now. I will still be there to cushion where I can, nudge when I need to – sometimes even a strong PUSH. But maybe the best thing I can do now is sit back and wait, spot her a little, and clap the loudest and proudest at her successes.

And I know there will be many.

Happy Fifteen.

photo booth, circa 1999
photo booth, circa 1999

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