Walking Away

May 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Lollipop | 22 Comments
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I made it to Lollipop’s school breakfast this morning.

She chose her Tinkerbell dress and magenta Mary Janes with polka-dot socks. She brushed her teeth with extra toothpaste and didn’t protest when I ran the comb through her morning tangles. She decided to bring her stuffed cat Pickles with us.

When we arrived, Lollipop and I played outside for a few minutes. She presented me with a white felt bag stamped with her bright blue footprint. We shared a blueberry tea cake.

She hugged me and then raced for the swings where her friend waited, a tulle-loving kindred spirit dressed in a sparkling blue tutu. I meandered over and kissed the top of her head. I said goodbye, have a good day, I love you.

She didn’t hear. Too many adventures to dream up.

As I walked back to the car, I ran my fingers over the soft white felt of the bag she had made. I traced the puffy outline of her blue footprint. It seemed so big.

I thought of all the steps she has already taken. She’s no longer my baby, no longer a toddler. She’s a little girl. She’s a big sister. She’s her own person, with preferences and opinions and emotions all her own.

I thought of all the steps she will take. She will lose teeth, lose heart. She will win races, win respect. She will break bones, break barriers.

She will need me less and less. I will worry more and more. I will cheer for her. I will tell her I love her again and again, even when she can’t hear me over the thrilling roar of her next adventure.

And I will watch from the background with pride, and just a few tears, as she makes her mark on this world. One footprint at a time.



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  1. I joined a site that asked me what my favorite blog was, and I put yours on there. This post, among many, is why.

    Just beautiful.

  2. OK. You hit me hard. Right in the gut. I have tears in my eyes. And you put them there. You and your beautiful writing. You and your wonderful imagination.

    I sat right there. Right where you are sitting. And I knew this day would come. I knew it. I knew it. And I’m approaching it slowly and cautiously. I’m terrified. But I’m doing it. Letting go. So my kids can make their own footprints.

    I have their little footprints on pieces of pottery. So much learning in so little time.

    If I could, would I want to go back in time. I don’t know.

  3. You know what I have found recently? That as they get older they don’t need us less, they just need us in different ways. And actually, I would gamble on the fact that they really need us more. Sure, not to change diapers or push the swing, but the needs are more palpable as their age and intellect increase. I find my oldest (only 7 years old) to be the most challenging. I am not confident with him like I am with his brothers. Everything is trial and error — and there is plenty of both and what feels like very few successes. But he needs me in ways I am not used to being needed. Needs me for lessons that are sometimes too difficult to teach.

    Every time I see your name somewhere in blogland all I can think is eeeeeek! Any day now! Eeeeeek!

    And then I sigh. Because I pretty much wish I was right there, too.

    Good luck!

  4. This made me cry… so sweet, so true.
    I’m glad you made it to the breakfast. Next step – LABOR!

  5. Just lovely. =)

  6. Beautiful.

  7. Oh, you are the best at making me get all teary. In a good way. Beautiful post.

    Now tell Bun to get moving!

  8. Oh, oh sniff. This might be too much for me with Sam turning 5 tomorrow. Too, too much. We have his Mother’s Day Tea tomorrow morning too:)

  9. I’ve missed reading your delightful words. I am so glad that you made it to the breakfast!! (Even though I am also sad that you are still pregnant your “Bun”.)

    Just yesterday I was looking at my little Emily with shock–how did she grow so fast!?!?!

  10. This was not a breakfast to miss! Getting that glimpse sounds lovely – lovelier (though maybe not easier) than, say, childbirth.
    So many steps. And steps away! But she’ll make plenty of steps back, too. Today, as I’m all grown up and a parent myself, I need my mother more than ever.

  11. A good reminder to me to enjoy each moment with my 14-mo old and not wish any of it away!

  12. I love, Love, LOVE this post. You have such a lovely way with words.

  13. I’ve got to stop reading you at work. People won’t understand why I’m weeping at my desk. I’m so glad that you got to go (although I’m sorry that you’re still pregnant).

    I agree with Sarah – they don’t need you less, just differently. Actually, my 6-year-old has needed me a lot more lately than my 10-month-old. (Frankly, if the baby could drive a car, I don’t think she would need me at all.)

    Thank you so much for sharing her blue foot with us – it was really touching.

  14. Oh, I am really feeling this one! Beautiful!

  15. And now that you made it to the breakfast, your body knows itis free to go into labor! It is amazing how many milestones they reach so quickly. Thanks for sharing such a sweet post with us.

  16. This post is so sweet and thoughtful. This is the kind of thing I think of when I look at my son, who’s about to turn 3. The baby is a distant memory, and even the last bit of toddler is gone. He’s officially a preschooler now, and as much as it thrills me to watch him grow, it also breaks my heart.

  17. The growing up is so hard…on us mothers. I can’t believe that my baby is 4. I wonder what happened to the babyhood…even though I know i made a point to relish it because I knew how fleeting it all was. Now you have what will soon be, a little blue footprint to remind you forever of how little and precious she once was.

  18. Isn’t great to have a moment to stop and appreciate the moment you’re in, all that has been, and all that’s yet to come?

  19. Loved this 🙂

  20. Nicely written. I agree, this part is so hard. While our kids grow up and “away” from us, it all feels natural to them. They won’t feel the void the way we will. But I agree with Sarah and the others who say they just need us differently. I remember working with a woman who left her job to become a SAHM when her kids entered their teens – she thought that was when they really needed her to be around. But I do understand – the kids will show less and less dependence on us.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  21. Oh my, this is positively lovely. I’m such a wistful person, I know just what you mean. I wish I could freeze time. Or at least go back to visit times past when I take the notion!

  22. I love all that you write. Beautiful scentiments here. I feel the ache and the at the same time the pride. I know it well. I’m so scared of them growing up…I need them so much, do you suppose they’ll always need us the same?

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