There Is Never Enough Time But There Is Now

Version 2

“Tuck me in momma,” she insists sweetly, her blue eyes big behind her glasses, her long, caramel-colored hair tied back for bed. I’m standing against her doorway more out than in. Her bedside table is littered with gum wrappers and tangled hot pink headphones, Catcher in the Rye, its pages curling. The bed is unmade and her finished homework spills out of her unzipped backpack.

“Pleeeese?” she says dramatically as she reaches for her phone, the glowing screen a constant calling. I watch her check her texts or maybe it’s Snapchat. For me, it’s her girlish plea that beckons and tugs at my heart. It’s past her bedtime and inching closer to mine. With the younger two asleep, My Time is just within reach: the book I’ve been meaning to start, that cherry enzyme facial mask I want to try out. If I go upstairs now, I might even eke out a solid 30 minutes cruising Amazon Prime for the ever-elusive perfect beach cover up I absolutely must have. Then there’s the undeniable relief of simply cozying up in my warm, soft bed next to the guy I married and never seem to have enough time to just be with.

I hesitate in the doorway. The decision isn’t clear and I feel guilty. My daughter just turned 15 and her requests for my company are less and less frequent. Will this be one of the last times she asks me to tuck her in? I am acutely aware of the time I have left with her before she leaves for a life of her own. I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for almost her entire life, trading in client meetings for Mommy and Me classes, my commute for carpool. Now, as I stay rooted in my motherhood, she is slowly and steadily pulling away from me, her home base. Even when she’s just in the next room, I have the urge to chase her down like I did when she was a giggling three-year-old bolting along the sidewalk. Back then I easily caught up with her, winded maybe, but always there. I set the boundaries, taught her right from wrong, kindness from cruelty, when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” I established Safety Rules and dinner table rules, bedtime and bath time. When her tears came, I opened my arms and held her tight.

Now it’s far more difficult to enforce the rules and the rules themselves are shifting, as they must. Safety Rules aren’t about not playing with matches; they’re about not getting in cars with your friend’s brother’s buddy just because you met him that one time. Bedtime is an amorphous hour determined by soccer practice and homework load, weekday or weekend night. Gone are the days when a snuggle and a snack made everything right in her world. Now she vacillates between needing distance and burrowing back into me. I don’t always know how she feels. She doesn’t tell me every detail of her life. She does not belong to me the way she did when she was little, when her small, soft hand slipped into mine without a thought. When we ran on our own time, sharing minutes and hours and days that stretched out forever, sometimes blissfully, other times with the utmost agony. Only now on the other side do I realize how fast it all went by.

It’s tempting to step into the space between me and my girl, claim it as my own. On the days she is fluttering around in her teenage world, capable and light, her latest playlist drifting out into the house from her under her closed door, I am lighter too. She sings along, her voice catching the notes so beautifully, probably Face Timing with her friends, maybe painting her nails metallic baby blue. This is when I feel myself expand, just a little, into the space she’s left behind. There are hours now when I am finally able to twirl in a circle of my own without scraping motherhood’s walls. I perch at the kitchen counter with a glass of wine after dinner; I settle down with my laptop to write, knowing my girl is happy and whole just down the hall.

I’m grateful for the free moments, but I’m not quite ready for the letting go. I get restless waiting for her to snap back to me. I’m not sure of my place anymore. I want to offer comfort and guidance, but she’s not as forthcoming with what she wants or needs. I don’t want to lecture but I’m not done teaching. I don’t want to keep my distance, but she needs space to become her own person – the person she’ll be without me.

She looks up from her screen, her face scrubbed clean and smiles. There is always a choice to make: him or her, meat or dairy, exercise or write, sleep or read. My girl will be gone from this house in three years, a revelation that seems impossible. I wish I could remember every second of our unending days together. I wish I could make the next three years last forever. There is never enough time, but there is now. I take a step into her room, smiling and light, the decision made.

132 thoughts on “There Is Never Enough Time But There Is Now

  1. Motherhood beautifully captured here. The eagerness/willingness to walk that extra mile for her for she will be on her own soon is very touching. You are a gem and your daughter knows it. Great post!

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  2. Kids can never grow that much! Just remember that parents are always in their hearts and usually they’d prefer to be small again. I know because I’m only young still.

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  3. I am a father of 2 year old son and I always felt that how a mother would feel about their growing childerns. I read this and I am amazed the way this article has been written. I almost felt as if Lisa was sitting right in front of me and we were having this conversation. Thank you so much for writing this.

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  4. Beautifully written. I’m trying get back into writing stories but I haven’t done it since high school which was like 8 years ago. So I need some writting tips or classes on how to organize it properly. This was a great example of what I lack thank you for posting this.

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    1. Thank you so much for you kind words. I think the best thing to do is just write. And write, and write. Find your voice and then worry about organizing your writing later. Let the story come out then play around with what goes where.

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  5. That was a really beautiful post. I know what you mean about how there’s never enough time until you make a conscious decision to invest it in the little things that matter instead of the even littler things that don’t.

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  6. Wonderful post, Lisa.
    I know this have struck a chord in many Mums’ hearts!
    It certainly brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m lucky enough to have had both my girls grow up, leave, and yet come back to be close together again!
    Thank you for a lovely thought about time…. and taking time to love them while we’ve got them….
    Tempus Fugitive …
    Kindest Regards. Marie.

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    1. Thank you Marie ❤ I hope my girls come back around to me when they're ready. Of course, all three are still home (my youngest is 6), but I still think about what it'll be like – what I'll be like – when they're gone.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That was beautifully written. My eldest is nearly 6 and I’m starting to feel him pull away from me, just slightly, but he does things at school that I have no idea about, and has thoughts that he doesn’t share with me any more. The passing of time is so bittersweet.

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    1. Time is such a thief, isn’t it?! When we’re mothering little ones, though, it seems to go on forever. My youngest is 6 and yes, they do start that gentle pulling away don’t they? Thanks so much for reading!

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  8. Awesome post,I must confess! Its message packed for building back the falling wall of good relationship between parents and young adults or let say, the teenagers. It needs be handled seriously, yet tenderly, but with care and godly wisdom.

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  9. Aww man, I barely made it through reading this without crying. It’s funny because I was just revisiting this song called, “Slow Down,” by Nicole Nordmane. It reminds me very much of your thoughts about your daughter.

    I’m on the other side of the fence. I’m the 27 year old daughter whose mother still craves for me to need her, want her opinion, ask for her help, call me to tell her I’m okay, or that I’m not. She wants me to need and believe her the way I did when I was a kid.

    However, it’s her trying too hard to hold onto me that creates the rift between us. I’m sure she has her own perspective on why our relationship is turbulent.
    I just want to be viewed as an adult, who is capable of making my own decisions, forming my own thoughts, without our relationship being jeopardized because of it.

    What my mom doesn’t realize is, even when she doesn’t feel like she has me, she does. I will always need her. There will always be a part of me reserved solely for her.

    Yesterday I called her sobbing because I had a nightmare. She still rubs my tummy when it hurts. I don’t want kids, but only she knows the name of her granddaughter should things change. She is the keeper of my deepest secrets. If something exciting or devastating happens, she’s the first person I want to tell. And no matter how crazy she drives me, I always find my way back to her arms because they will always be home.

    Only recently have I noticed the side of me that is blossoming into what I love most about my mother.

    So no, I don’t always ask for her advice or opinion about every matter in my life but my decision making stems from everything she has instilled in me. And I’ll never not need her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is beautiful and so powerful – thank you for sharing ❤ I adore this: "What my mom doesn’t realize is, even when she doesn’t feel like she has me, she does. I will always need her. There will always be a part of me reserved solely for her."

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  10. Fantastic post, Lisa. New to your blog after discovering you via Fresh Pressed (yay, you!). I also have a 15 year old daughter and can truly relate to so much of this. The next three years are looming large.

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  11. This is my first attempt at connecting with my neighbours through commentary, as my introductory emails have tried teaching me to do.

    I haven’t read our fellow bloggers’ comments as I feel as if those are conversations between the two of you- I hope to only portray my respect for those relationships. It feels more like an interruption of thought rather than eavesdropping. It feels as though the written word (although ammendable and free to form between pause, and available for contemplation) can remove from the sincerity of an author’s message.

    Too much editing and you may even have a different submission with an altered perception.

    And it is such a beautiful concept to think that more time is being “made”! I do not want to ruin what could be told to people as a sort of fairytale.

    Science has even come up with a beautiful idea that a black hole and its parallel spinning partner could create the space for such a miraculous act of acience to occur.

    I genuinely hope that your daughter reads this post and on days of wishing for more time, her mum did just that for her.

    Thank you for making time and giving hope and love immeasurable.

    I hope I get given a chance to gift my own child with this.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. As a young woman as well,i get caught up much in trying to live my age well, but i too run back to my mother’s arms everytime i get a chance too! I get to see her during holidays and i miss her alot everyday! And i never see the time we have enough but making the most of it, cooking her favourite dish,arranging her clothes and giving her a hand in everything she does al these raise my soul when am far like right now,at least i know i made her smile once. Surely,there is never enough time! Thank you very much for the post!

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  13. So touched by this, Lisa. It is both a constant extension and retraction, isn’t it?.?. I’m not quite there–M is only 16 months–but I know this space is being held for me, as well. Hoping to trace its folds with your grace once I’m there.

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  14. Oh boy, does this speak to my heart. And brings me to tears. The days were definitely long and the years have been short. Now, when those teenagers want to talk, we have to drop everything and listen. The next interaction may be complete irritation coming from both of us. Sigh… luckily, my last interaction with the 15 yr old was laughing because of something quirky happening in her SIMS land. 🙂

    My girls are very similar ages to yours (15,almost 13, &7).

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks so much for reading Kara. It’s always great hearing from moms of all girls 🙂 It’s so true that we have to take all the opportunities we can to be with them even tho the next interaction might not turn out so positively.

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