My daughter just turned 16 last week. I am not sure how that happened so quickly, as it feels surreal to think about it without tears filling my eyes, and a little regret invading my heart. It seems like only yesterday that she was happily walking to her softball games, joining her teammates and friends at the park, giggling all the way. As a "tween", she would let me walk behind her, but not too close, as she wanted to create the illusion of independence. If we both only knew, that the reality of her upcoming self sufficiency was only a short time away, I would have grabbed her hand on that dirt path, and never let go.
What I did not understand back then, was that she was forging her path in life, even though it was a more contained and comfortable trail, it was still hers to create. I thought I was the one giving my daughter the instructions and the insight, but in truth I was her guidance system and safety net. She was the one laying down the tracks of how she wished her life to unfold. As a mother of three, I observe how each child walks a different path, in varied directions, which at times makes me feel lost, and honestly, alone. My 16 year old is walking a unique and beautiful journey, and I am truly trying to keep it together, as I watch her growing in ways I am so very amazed to witness.
However, the days of my daughter asking for me to walk her to the park, or a bike ride to school, with her are long gone. Instead she is rushing in from school with her beautiful smile, and a quick hello, to let me know she is going to a movie; or for dinner with friends, and will be home later. I know she loves me dearly, I am lucky enough to hear that often from her. However, at 16 years old, she is a place that requires me less physically, and more emotionally and spiritually. This is a great shift for a mother, to readjust and understand new roles. Although I am happy to see her grow up healthy, I am mourning the relationship of a "young daughter and mommy" that is no longer there.
I have had some good cries over it, and even a little guilt. Don't get me wrong, I was there for so much of her childhood, and we have made incredible memories together, and still do. I do not feel cheated or slighted in any way. Its the nagging feeling I get, thinking back on the moments I may have deemed unimportant, and that I may have glossed over. Like when she asked to watch a movie on the couch next to me, but I was too busy and said another day. Or when she wanted to bike to the ice cream shop and get milkshakes, and I explained it was too just too hot.
There were many times I could have, but chose not to, and those are the moments that I wish I had a do over. I always felt rushed or too busy. Since we all know there are no do overs in life, I recently made some life changing decisions. I let go of many responsibilities I was holding onto that were not in line with my life's purpose. I let go of a business partnership that I cherished, many volunteer and leadership positions I held, as well as busy work that no longer needed my attention. The reasons I let go, was to make room. I needed room to truly be present in each day with my children, and have the time to nurture these beautiful relationships with each one. I still hold space for what I love, writing and inspiring, but it was the other "stuff" that I chose to free, to let my energy once again radiate.
I am grateful for the epiphany her 16th birthday brought to me, to us. She will be 18 in an instant, and off to college (as the tears roll down my cheeks). I am blessed to have made the room for what matters to me. Always make room for what matters to you.
Lucie Dickenson is an inspirational blogger, wife, and mom to three unique and wonderful teenagers. Through her writing and in her personal life, she loves to inspire others, finding what makes their heart sing, so they can live their truth every day.