Our oldest was gone for a whole week, visiting with my mother for her annual summer retreat from the siblings. It was much, much harder to have her away than I thought it would be. We celebrated her birthday at the lake with my folks, and while we were there, it occurred to me that she wouldn’t ALWAYS want to spend her birthday with us. In a few years, she’ll want to spend it with her friends, and a few years after that, with her husband, and a few years after that, with her own kids. It was a bit of a blow, I’ll be honest. She’s fifteen now, and suddenly she’s not a little girl anymore.
Measuring her for her new clothes, I see in the tape just how grown up she’s become. It reminded me of my favorite George Bernard Shaw quote, from Man and Superman:
The only person who behaves sensibly is my tailor. He takes my measure anew every time he sees me. All the rest go on with their old measurements.
In a lot of ways, I think that summarizes my entire parenting philosophy: I want to meet my kids all over again each day, and know them for who they are, rather than for who I want or expect them to be. Sewing for our oldest has given me the chance to see her through her eyes, and have a better picture of what she thinks of herself. It’s invaluable information for any parent, and helps me know how to respond to her and how to better understand the subtext when she acts all crazy cakes the way a fifteen-year-old is bound to do. Making clothing for her for what may be one of the last times as she grows up and grows out of our house, I am grateful for the chance to see her unfold into a whole person, and hopeful for the future she sees in front of her.
It all happens each day, one stitch at a time, as we sew our children’s lives and they accept and run. Roots and wings, y’all.