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Roots and Wings

June 3, 2011

As a parent I’ve had many opportunities to celebrate my children’s milestones. The days they were born, the first time they sat up, their first words, their first steps, their first birthdays.

It seems like the first year of life is jam packed with those sort of celebrations.

As they get a bit older it seems those milestones become fewer and farther between. The first lost tooth, the first bicycle ride with no training wheels, the first time they wrote their name…legibly (sort of…kind of…I mean that looks like a “J”…doesn’t it?)

Each milestone I’ve celebrated with my kids has been (for me) somewhat bittersweet.

Yes, I’m thrilled at their accomplishments. Yes, I’m excited to see how much they’ve grown. Yes, I’m ecstatic that they’re becoming more and more independent.

And yet I’m keenly aware that each little step of independence only serves to widen the gap between us, and that gap grows moment by moment, year by year, until one day they’ll leap from the edge of this safe and secure nest I’ve harbored them in and fly away.

I once heard that a parent’s job was twofold…to give their children roots and to give their children wings.

Of the two, wings are harder.

And it was that knowledge yesterday that had me smiling and laughing and crying all at the same time as my little girl accepted her preschool graduation diploma.

I know I’m being silly and sentimental. It’s not as if she’s graduated high school or college or her daddy just gave her away on her wedding day.

But I looked at her yesterday and realized just how not-so-little she is. I realized that five years has gone by in an instant, and I felt that strange slipping of time that I think only a parent can feel.

So you’ll just have to excuse me for being a bit maudlin.

But this, too, shall pass.

In a few minutes she and her brother will be at each other’s throats over something really trivial, and I’ll be so over it.

Crap!

There they go.

See?

Totally and completely over it.

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