The Great Unfurling of Growing Up

Eight years. 

Eight years since I crossed the holy threshold of birth to become a mother. Dreams brought to life with the great ache of joy; quivering, squeezing, stretching until I emerged as something wholly new, holding someone holy and new.

And now, through the creeping crawl of the days and the great strides of the years, I’ve arrived at the doorstep of my first child’s eighth birthday. And it feels like crossing another threshold.

Though isn’t every year older a new threshold? Something beautiful and fragile waiting to unfurl?

Still, there is something about eight that feels both precious and precarious. As if, as soon as she walks across that threshold into this new year, every step carries her farther and farther away from the little girl that I’ve known so long. All along. She’s striding towards that liminal space of not quite grown but no longer little. 

With a pressing urgency, I feel the passage of time, heavy and weightless all at once. The same time I willed away on long dark nights or in the swirling winds of stormy tantrums. The time that I now find myself grasping at so desperately, even as I watch it slip through my hands. Because each time I pick her up, every book she crawls into my lap to read, all the invitations to play, may all to quickly fade away. And a doorway will close on a series of lasts that just yesterday felt like firsts.

And I wonder.

Have I cherished it enough?

Have I soaked it in enough?

Have I been present and patient enough?

Have I loved her enough in these first tender years to protect and prepare her for unknowns that are sure to buffet her in the years to come?


And also, yes. 

Because I’ve loved her and walked with her and prepared her, imperfectly. Which, as mothers, as humans, is really the best we can ever hope for. And I have to let that be enough. And I have to trust the person she is continually becoming.

The thing with thresholds is, as we walk away from one world, we’re journeying towards something new. Towards a beautiful and challenging unknown of limitless possibilities. And what a gift to take each step, each year, side by side in stride with my child. 

Photo from the lovely Liz Hough Photography.

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