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Look Up

Lots of experiences in life can change you, if you let them. The simplest event can make a huge difference. One person, one place, one conversation can set your life on a different path. This past month, I am grateful to have experienced several life-changing moments.

Visiting Lilydale several years ago, I was tingling with excitement. Getting a reading with a medium, drinking wine, having philosophical conversations with really bright women and one super-brilliant man was a great experience. This visit, though still filled with the above elements, was life-altering, in a different way.

Most mothers agree that having a baby is one of--if not the--most life-changing moments. Once you have a child, nothing is ever the same. But almost before the afterglow fades, you're off and running breastfeeding, changing diapers, recording first steps, taking pictures, kissing boo-boos, having more babies, shuttling to cheerleading, football, basketball, soccer, and so forth, and enjoying most moments along the way. Unfortunately sometimes in the midst of this, you switch to auto-pilot. You do and do and do and do and don't look up.

This weekend, I looked up. And I saw my beautiful daughter in a whole different light. Where there had been a tiny precocious child, there was now an elegant young woman. Where there had been bones, there were curves. Where there had been dancing excitement and giddiness in her sparkly eyes, there was now a quiet look of knowledge and experience. Though there are still glimpses of that little girl, giggles and bursts of excitement and the occasional lapse in judgement and naivete, she is mostly grown. I still hold her on my lap, but now I have grown up conversations with her. I still snuggle up in her bed with her and smoothe her hair, but now I ask her opinion on important subjects and trust her guidance and advice. She will always be my baby, but she has become my best friend too.

This weekend, I looked up, really looked up, and saw my first-born child, almost grown, and it made me wonder who hit the fast forward button on my life. Where did the time go? In just two years, she will go to college and start her own life. While I am so proud of what a wonderful person she has become, the thought that she's only mine for such a brief time hit me in a gut-wrenchingly real way.

So today, I will hug all of my children a little tighter, because they are and will in the blink of an eye be teetering on the edge of adulthood, poised to start their own lives. And I hope that I continue to remember to look up while they are still right here where I can see them.

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  1. That is beautifully, written, Mary, and you know I know what you're talking about.

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