Wow, I was reading Sam’s blog (Savannah’s Journal) and I guess I screwed up and never read her post about growing up (Enjoy It While You Can). Maybe part of me was afraid to read it! Wow was it moving and in some way reassuring that her mother and I have done a good job raising her. No as most of you parents are murmuring in your heads right now. “A Parents Job is Never Truly Finished” But I am hopeful that all the days when it would have been easier to just be her friend and let her have that one extra treat or item she wanted, her mother and I chose to be just that her caring loving parents and sometimes that means saying No! I’m so proud of my “Baby Girl” She truly is grown into a beautiful caring young woman, but she will always be her mommy and daddy’s “baby girl”
Savannah Always know that daddy and mommy will be here no matter how grown you are to lend a hand, a shoulder to cry on or some money for that new dress you can’t live without. We Love You Baby Girl, now please forgive me as I crouch down behind my computer monitor and shed some tears that my baby girl is grown up.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Here’s a recent essay that I wrote about what I believe in for my Honors Seminar class. Our inspiration for writing this essay was thisibelieve.org. Visit it when you get a chance, it’s fantastic!
One of my parents’ favorite pieces of advice when I was younger was: “don’t grow up too fast.” A young girl growing up in California, I lived for the brilliant sunshine, the blossoming flowers and the beautiful weeping willow tree in my front yard. I devoured fresh fruit by the pound, to the point of making myself sick. I rebelliously snuck out of the sliding glass door of my very own master bedroom and jumped into our aqua-colored pool on the days when the cement was too hot for bare feet. I did not know what I had.
“You’ll miss these days,” my parents would remind me every time I complained about something that I was not old enough to do. I laughed mischievously and smiled at them, asking why I would ever miss not being a “grown up”. They shook their heads and grinned, but insisted that I would become nostalgic in years to come. Like any other eight year old, I ignored their wise advice. I believed my parents to be undeniably incorrect. But what did I know? I was so young—so young and naïve.
In the sweltering summer of 2004, we traveled from the west to the east coast and settled down here in the South. It was quite a change of scenery, but I never minded. In a few years, I no longer associated California with being my home. The details of my Spanish-style, stucco house faded from my memory, replacing themselves with the unsettling anxiety of middle school and shallow concerns of my physical appearance that I later realized were pitiful distresses in the grand scheme of things. I wanted to grow up, did I? Well, here was a bitter taste. Yes, it was a spoonful of harsh reality, but I still spent countless weekend mornings hungrily reading the Inheritance series and many afternoons dreaming up impossible adventures. The idea of “growing up” was so unreal to me that I never saw it as something solid. Rather, it was a cloud of intangible smoke floating languidly, with an air of pompous intimidation, over my head. I thoroughly believed that I would never reach the age of my parents. As far as I knew, there was nothing in the way between me and a life-long childhood, not even time.
I graduated eighth grade and vividly remember sobbing foolishly into the shoulders of my friends. I was overwhelmed by nostalgia, yes, but most of all, I was afraid. I was scared to death of the idea of high school. That was where the “big kids” went to school—the ones that could drive, the ones that dated each other, the ones that would apply for colleges and go all over the country to live by themselves. The idea was outlandish. I was afraid that I would be the one person who would never be able to grasp the reality and, therefore, never succeed. The idea was steadily turning opaque in my mind. It was becoming something solid, but it would take much more time for the idea to fall out of the sky and into my hands, making me tumble to the ground with it.
Contrary to my beliefs, freshman year as a part of Ridge View’s Scholars Academy was one of the most exciting years of my life. Adrenaline rushed through me with new academic challenges—I had a strong sense of pride at my fast-paced, intense learning. In addition, I made new friends who helped me realize what exactly my true identity was as they learned to love both my sarcastic and compassionate sides. Even though I was balancing stressful schoolwork and attempting not to drive myself off the edge, the real dose of reality did not come until the summer before my junior year.
There was something about becoming a junior that made this idea of adulthood much more real. It seemed to make my early adolescence quickly shrink away and that translucent cloud of smoke transformed into a very real, very solid idea that fell onto me and, as I had expected, made me collapse under its weight. As a seventeen-year-old girl, I am now expected to drive. I am expected to get a job. I am expected to be a role model of utmost sincerity to both my friends and my siblings. I am expected to be a perfect student—because the competition is tightening and so is the time. Adult responsibilities are setting in. College is only a year ahead of me. I am close to living on my own. I will have to be even more frugal, careful and responsible. Sometimes, it forces me to stay up at night, thinking through it all, devising a specific, foolproof plan of action. I often ask myself how I will do it. I ask how I got this far. But, most importantly, I ask myself how I grew up so fast.
My parents were correct. How is that for cliché? I do miss my childhood. I do miss the days of running barefoot through lush, green grass. I do miss drawing pictures on the sidewalk outside my house. I do miss the long days of play and the long nights of sleep. I do miss the days when my only responsibilities were things like cleaning my room and brushing my teeth. Now, I’ve grown up.
If you’re wondering, yes, I’ve come to terms with it. I understand what is expected of me and I understand what I must do to get to a secure place in my life. A lot of careful thought, even more hard work and a passionately optimistic attitude should get you that far.
So, I beg of you this one thing: always cherish the beauty of your childhood; not only your childhood, but any beautiful, exciting, meaningful moment in your life that you can share with the people you love. Do not let go of the time to enjoy every breath that life gives you, because one day, when you have it all figured out, you can use that breath to blow away that intimidating, translucent cloud of smoke.