Kate was home this weekend. It was only her second weekend home since going to Denton in August. She looked good. She seems happy and highly capable of taking care of herself. In so many ways, she’s all grown up. I told her that this weekend with a lump in my throat. She’s all grown up. I love the woman she has become. I am so proud of her; yet I cry … I miss my little girl.
Why? Why do I miss the child, when I have this wonderful young woman? Is it because I miss the way she needed me? is it because I miss the little one who was full of possibilities? Kate has acused me more than once of living vicariously through her … not as bad as some moms … not bad enough to be psychologically damaging, just bad enough to be embarrassing. But, tell me … could I date a boy who looks like Donny Osmond? I think not. OK .. so I will miss some of the vicarious living … but that’s not what brings the tears, because her life keeps bringing me wonderful experiences.
No, I think the tears relate to the fact that her growing up makes it even harder to deny my own growing up. I have a birthday next week … I will be closer in age to 50 than 40. For me it’s not the “big” birthdays that bother me, it’s the one’s inbetween. As Kate’s future takes form in her, by moving off to college, I realize that I, too, am less and less a woman of possiblity and more and more a woman of reality. You see, I prefer the realm of possibility … that’s why I love working with young people … that’s why I enjoy futuring in the church … that’s why I can lead congregations into change, imagining a new future … but, as my own story becomes more past than future … I find myself being squeezed out of the realm of imagination and into the realm of what is.
The truth is … I love what is. I love my family, my home, my job, my community, my friends … I really do. Even so, sometimes the real-ness of these things is painful. The depth of beauty of what is is inevitably linked to the limitations of reality. I realize that. I just don’t want to have to give up the realm of possibility … of ideals … of imagining a different, perhaps an even better, future. Ah, but perhaps that’s it … perhaps my middle-age task is to embrace the “what is” in myself, and imagine a better future for my community, for the church, for my daughter, for the world. Perhaps that’s what maturity is really all about … Yes, I’m all grown up … and this could be a very good thing.