Child One is growing up. I knew this would happen. The delight of her chubby girlhood was always meant to disappear down the inevitable but steady path to adulthood. And so she marches, albeit awkwardly at times, toward the bright, funny, inquisitive, self-possessed, over-achieving young woman she is meant to be. But I hate it. I don’t hate who she is or will be. I hate that she is no longer a little girl, no longer dependent and no longer around. Last night I had a dream that she was taking an apartment in Santa Monica to be nearer school and that Ex-Wife had blessed the move. I freaked out – isn’t she away from us enough, I shouted? Between school and internships and studying and horses, isn’t she away all the time? And we only get her for another year and a half before she leaves us entirely to go to college – a new adventure in a life that promises to be full of things I only dared dream about at her age.
I read about abandoned children in Haiti and babies born with no hope for the future. And as I turn the pages of the newspapers and magazines, irrational craziness pops into my head – I should go get one of those children, bring home a baby or two to take care of. They need homes, they need love, they need food. But what I’m really thinking is “I need them”. I need them to replace the growing half-children in my own home. Even Child Two is no longer a baby. Every day, traces of Young Man creep in to replace the scared, funny little boy he used to be. The new Young Man is confident and sensitive and daring and far more adult than an eleven year old boy should be. He’s extraordinary really.
If I spend more than two seconds thinking about it, I willingly come to the conclusion that the last thing I want is a baby or young child in the house . Sig Other and I have little enough time with each other to begin with – we never had a honeymoon period – never got to be a young couple on our own. It was always more important to both of us to integrate the children into our lives and so now that they are getting older and will be around less often, we should revel in time that we have to spend together. And I can’t wait really. I look forward to a romantic future as much as I mourn the family-ridden past.
But I miss the days of driving Child one around. I miss the days of too many obligations and not enough “me” time. And now that “me time” presents itself I don’t know what to do with it and wish that time was spent with the children doing children things. So I will do what all parents of growing teenagers do – I will ask Child One out on a date – I will see if she can squeeze me in this weekend between homework and horses and friends. And I will be grateful for whatever moment she can spare for me along the busy and frenetic and fabulous path she carves from sweet chubby girlhood to fabulous, intriguing and exotic adulthood. Maybe just a trip to Starbucks or a jaunt out for frozen yogurt? Please?