I was recently explaining to my daughter, who happens to be my first born of two, that there are two times in a parent's job that are just absolutely terrifying. The first is when the child is a baby, because their whole world depends on you. This incredibly fragile being is all yours, and the entire weight of this little soul is on your shoulders. If they hurt, they can't tell you why, and you basically have to be on guard at all times and psychic to boot. Sure, they're cute and that totally makes up for it, but there is a very real state of constant worry that goes along with this stage, no matter how wonderful they are. Once your child is old enough to start communicating, it gets better... well, right up until that first day of school, but other than that it is pretty much just smooth sailing.
And then the teen years hit.
Oh sure, the teen years are plastered across the television as some sort of rebellious and slightly psychotic stage (and to be fair, I was that kid *ahem* - my daughter isn't, but I'm not telling her that was until she's all grown up! Admit to nothing!) but that's not what makes them hard. The hardest part of having a teenager is knowing that you have to let them go.
A child starts off completely dependent upon you, and somewhere in the years that zoom by faster than you ever imagined, you have to teach them to fly all by themselves. It's hard to let go, but you must or you will cripple your child as an adult. At the same time, you can't completely let go because they are not adults yet. So this growing up, growing away, becoming true individuals with their own destiny is a sort of slow, wobbly, and sometimes tearful process.
I am blessed that my daughter is not like me, in that she is currently the well balanced, beautiful, popular, good head on her shoulders type of girl. She's amazing. I'm no less amazed at who she is now than when she took her first steps. But all that amazement doesn't lessen the natural pain that comes with letting my little bird soar a little higher each day.
My daughter will be 15 in June, and she is more than I ever imagined she would be. She is my everything, and I will enjoy seeing who she turns out to be as an adult. I'll cherish the time I have to guide her, and then my heart will break when I finally let go, even though it's the right thing to do. My heart has been breaking a bit with the transition that has become evident just in the past year, and that is the entire story behind my latest painting:
|"Phase" by Kyra Wilson16x20, acrylic on stretched canvas (iridescent paint on the moon and hair)|
I am the firm base from which my daughter comes. She is my moon soaring into the sky to become who she is meant to be, and to shine.