I’ve always been a little smug about all that unsolicited parenting advice.
Everyone warned me — sometimes more than once — that time would speed by, that Catherine would be all grown up before I knew it and I’d better pay attention.
Yeah, yeah, I thought. Don’t waste your breath, because I will never miss out. I will always be present. I will make the most of every moment, from diapers to cap and gown and beyond.
As usual, the joke is on me.
Today, Catherine brought this home from school:
It is her junior-year portrait — light years away in terms of beauty and sophistication from even my college picture. You might not see all the promise and hope I do in those shining green eyes (you’re excused, after all — I’m her Mom, so I likely project).
But you’ll concede that it’s a remarkable metamorphosis from her 2-year-old picture:
It happened. I blinked.
I blinked and she went from toddling around here, dancing to Disney tunes, playing tea party and tending to baby doll Emily, to dancing to rap music, playing with makeup and babysitting the neighbor’s kids.
She’s worried about her hair, noticing boys, developing strong social and political views. She borrows my heels, makes us supper sometimes (and occasionally cleans up after herself), is navigating the insanity of adolescence, and learning the rewards that come with hard work and with volunteering at church and at our local hospital.
I love the beautiful young adult she has become, but I’d give anything for a few minutes of snuggling with the girl in the purple feetie pajamas, for one more tea party or cock-eyed craft project. For a romp through the autumn leaf pile or some snowy fun.
I’d give anything to turn back the clock and do it all again, eyes wide open.