Eight years ago on May 26th, Don and I walked out of an orphanage in Blagoveschensk, Russia with our daughter. We celebrate this as Family Day here in Chateau Bon. We'll go out to eat and look for all the Russian animals in Lincoln Park Zoo and we'll give Laney one of the presents we bought for her in Moscow on our first trip to Russia. It's a fun weekend.
But I find myself feeling very melancholy nonetheless. Maybe it's because I think I'll be putting my ancient and beloved cat to sleep tomorrow. Or maybe it's just PMS. Who knows. But before this post gets too heavy, let's let a four-year-old Laney tell us a joke:
All these milestones... birthdays, family days, first tooth lost, first period, they are all celebrations. But they are also, all, edged liberally with such sadness.
As is this whole business of raising children.
That little four year old girl telling jokes is gone. The nine year old who sleeps in her bedroom is amazeballs and the very joy of my life. But that doesn't stop me from missing the four year old girl, and from feeling like I missed the four year old girl. These moments slip by, defying all our best efforts to grab hold of them, to slow it all down.
When it comes to Laney, I would trade nothing, I would do nothing differently. But being someone's mother hurts. And the only preventative medicine for the hurt is to remind yourself, again and again, that you can't grab hold of it. Every moment is always just ending.
Let's quote the final voiceover from the unfairly reviled American Beauty (seriously, if you hate on that movie for being a banal send up of suburbia, you've missed the point all together. Watch it again):
Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold onto it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.