"Why did the fairy godmother cry at the end of the play, momma?" asked my older daughter as she was obviously still contemplating the steady stream of tears that flowed from the senior actress's eyes as she took one last bow on the stage of probably one of her greatest childhood memories.
"As excited as she may about college and growing up and whatever awaits her in the next chapter of her life, it's always a little sad to say good bye to the chapter in your life you're ending," I told her. They still looked slightly confused. "Our lives consist of chapters. Your childhood here with us is your first chapter. Then you start a second one after you graduate school, and how many you write depends on how many doors you open and close in your life. But we all write several chapters as our lives are constantly changing and growing. You know how mommy use to grow up in Missouri where Nene and Papa and Aunt Kel and Te are, right?" At their nod I continued, "Well, as excited as I was to start a new exciting chapter out here with your dad where we would hopefully create the life that we did end up creating here with you kids, I was closing a huge chapter in my life back home. I probably cried all the way across the state of Missouri the day I left. As excited as you are about what's to come you still mourn a part of what you're leaving behind. It's all a part of growing up and moving through life."
"Mommy, I don't want to grow up. I don't want Lincoln to grow up," my younger daughter said for what was not the first time. In fact this growing up thing seems to have been weighing on her mind a lot lately as I had lost track of how many times she has told me this of late. I looked down at her with those huge hazel eyes framed by those ridiculously long lashes with all the innocence of five years old shining one that little precious face of hers that still has that soft feel of new baby skin.
God, how I wish I could keep her, her sister, and her baby brother bottled up in their childlike innocence, naïve to the sometimes harsh realities of the world. But the world awaits you, baby girls, and I have to let you grow up. Believe it or not one day you will be ready to grow up. You will be ready to walk out that door of your childhood, the silence that follows echoing in your parents' saddened heart because that door closes a chapter of our life as well as yours. We will watch in the shadows as you pursue the visions you spent your childhood fantasying and pretending about in your childlike wonder of the grown up world you imagined.
That grown up world may not always treat you kindly, but know it is yours to conquer. If you work hard and take risks for the life you want to build you can make it happen. Find your talents- and you have talent don't doubt that- and share them with the world. Know you are always enough. You are enough for the people that truly love you and you are enough for the roles you play. Take risks. It takes risks to find great success. Taking risks are how you make your dreams a reality. Life will get busy and crazy but always hold those that love you near and make time for them as the older you get the faster the sand will pass through the hourglass of time. It's okay to grow up. I don't want to let you sometimes, but you'll be okay. Hold on to your great wonderful childhood memories and all the others you'll make as you move through life as those memories will get you through the tough patches. You'll be sad to leave some things behind but remember to focus on the great things that are always ahead, and great things are ahead for you both.