Growing Pains


Do you remember being at a certain age, caught in some strange limbo between childhood and adulthood?  Do you remember how part of you wanted to hold onto childhood, where suddenly everything seemed safer – but at the same time, part of you was chomping at the bit to get to adulthood and break free of the restraints of being a kid, and reach for all those big dreams you had?  Do you remember how confusing some things seemed then – most of all, your own heart?  Do you remember how you felt invincible and fragile at the same time?  Do you remember how everything seemed monumental, and it felt like your whole life hinged on whether he or she liked you back?

I remember.

And I wouldn’t go back to those years if you paid me.

Now I’m watching my own offspring navigate his way through the mess of teen angst, which seems to have gone into overdrive lately.  And you know what?  It’s painful, even for me.  I’d like to ease it for him, but I know I can’t.  I know that these are great learning experiences for him that will in some way shape him as an adult.  I know that surviving squabbles with friends, surviving heartbreak, surviving not knowing exactly where you belong, surviving standing up for things you believe in and being shot down – they are all vital parts of growing up.  I know that stumbling and falling down, and getting back up fosters maturity and wisdom.  I know that, but it still hurts to watch your kid go through it.

And I’m scared to death I’m going to screw this up.  Say the wrong thing, misread something, be too distracted when he actually feels like opening up, snap at him too harshly when he’s being moody and difficult.

It all feels like such a delicate balance, such a fine line to walk.

Lilah, too, is going through something.  That sweet, good-natured girl I wrote about yesterday has been pretty tearful lately.  She has growing pains in her body and in her heart.  Her legs sometimes ache so much that she cries, and lately a hundred other things have reduced her to tears.  She tells me, “Mommy, I want to go back to preschool,” and “I wish I could stay home with you like I used to, and we could go get smoothies like we used to,” and she sobs, “Sometimes I think about how when I’m a grown-up, you’ll die.”  And what can I say?  I want to ease it for her, too, but she can’t go back to preschool, she can’t stay home with me like she used to, and someday I am going to die.  So I tell her all the great things about being a first-grader, and I promise her that we’ll spend some time together this weekend and we’ll go get smoothies, just me and her.  And I tell her that I won’t die for a long, long time.  And I hope that I’m not telling her a lie.

Being a kid is hard.  Being a parent is hard, too.

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4 Comments on “Growing Pains”

  1. aysjaysandayches
    October 5, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    I get similar questions from my 6 year old…absolutely heartbreaking… Being a parent is hard but I absolutely would never want to be her age again 😛

  2. Stacey
    October 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Nope. I disliked my childhood so much, and especially my teen years, I just wanted to get through it alive and in one piece and move on with MY LIFE and not the life my mom thought I should be living. Dating never appealed to me but it also just wasn’t done where I grew up. A bunch of boys and girls would go to the movies together or go roller skating or hang out at someone’s house, but there was never any pressure, or acceptance, of breaking away for one-to-one time. Prom night was the only time anyone might have had a boy-girl date. Gosh I hope the group-date idea comes back in the next 6 or 7 years!

    Growing pains in the bones are a sign of lack of potassium so try adding some bananas or sweet potatoes to her diet, or a supplement. If the pains are in her muscles & tendons, then they aren’t stretching at the same rate as the growing bones and some simple yoga stretches before bed will help loosen them up & relieve that pain. How to tell the difference? She might be able to tell you where the pain is; if not, then if a simple massage helps, it’s probably muscles & tendons. And it doesn’t hurt to do some stretches before bed anyway.

  3. Vonda
    October 7, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I loathed that stage in life and I wouldn’t go back either. I know what you mean about watching your children go through it, it’s so hard. For Lilah though, this might help. My daughter, Halle had the WORST time adjusting to kindergarten. First grade wasn’t much better. So I bought her a locket necklace and put my picture in it. Every morning, without fail, she would put on her necklace and take me to school with her, if only in a picture. She often told me that when she got sad at school, she’d open her locket and look at my picture. The tears stopped and her overall outlook on life changed in an instant. She’s in 6th grade now, and I noticed the other day, SHE WAS WEARING THE LOCKET TO SCHOOL. Melted my heart!!!!!

    • Lisa
      October 7, 2012 at 2:41 am #

      Ohhhh, I love that Vonda!

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