The Slowly Aging Tightrope of Motherhood « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowThe Slowly Aging Tightrope of Motherhood

The Slowly Aging Tightrope of Motherhood
Published on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 by

hand in hand

I will never forget the feeling.  A tiny hand nestled in my own.  Small, sweaty and so familiar.  I can’t remember the age you are no longer allowed to hold your child’s hand.  Certainly by two or three you hear firm demands that there will be no hand holding as you both cross the street.  Being older and much bigger, this merely makes you smile as you reach for a hand anyway.  However, there is that moment when it simply stops.  You went from carrying, to hand holding, to walking side by side.

Recently I found myself at quite a different stage of life.  No longer the mother forever scampering behind little ones on the beach, I am now the mother who can actually sit and read.  When my tween daughter decides to come down to the beach, we are inseparable.  Yet she is now at a stage where she doesn’t accompany me on every trip to the water.

This past week I was stunned to find myself walking alone up and over the stairs, setting down a beach chair and actually READING.  Initially I had a moment of independent self-satisfaction.  Until I glanced around at all the young mommies taking pictures of their little ones and holding their hands at the water’s edge.  Maybe I don’t actually WANT to be reading on the beach alone!

On Sunday, my not-quite-teen daughter and I walked together looking for sea glass and other interesting treasures.  We talked, laughed and enjoyed the warm sun on our backs.  She threw herself in to the icy water, racing back with a grin that only she can do.  Giggling, she wrapped her arm around my back to get me just as cold and wet as she was.  But as we continued our walk, her arm stayed where she had placed it.

Was this my tween daughter?  With her arm wrapped around me, in public?

Then it happened.  She let go of me, letting her arm hang at her side.  Then, with no notice, her hand gently touched mine and held on as we continued our walk.

I dared not breathe.  Here was my youngest… my baby… once again holding my hand.  I closed my eyes and took in the moment.  Pretending that nothing was different, I continued to walk while repeating over and over to myself, “Enjoy this moment!  Enjoy this moment!”

Soon enough, she reached down to grab a shell and our hands were once again apart.

I believe I shall remember the feel of her larger hand in mine even more than that of her smaller, little girl hand.  Because in this moment, I held on to both a little girl’s hand and a young woman’s hand.  It was a safety net below me as I teeter on this slowly aging tightrope of motherhood.

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  • Ron


    Katherine, this was soooooooooooo beautifully written!

    Truly girl, it made me very emotional. I actually read it twice!

    “I believe I shall remember the feel of her larger hand in mine even more than that of her smaller, little girl hand. Because in this moment, I held on to both a little girl’s hand and a young woman’s hand. It was a safety net below me as I teeter on this slowly aging tightrope of motherhood.”

    How touching!

    And even though I am not a parent, I can actually feel what it’s like to BE a parent and go through that period that is so bittersweet of watching a child go from being a growing up.

    Loved both the shadow photo AND the final shot!

    Grrrrreat post!


    • Ron, thank you so much. I was so choked up writing this. It just came out of me so easily…. it came straight from the heart. I don’t know that I will mention this moment and what it meant to me to my daughter for several years… she would not understand it now and she might be embarrassed or never do it again. But when she is older I hope I remember to show her the post. Perhaps when she has her own daughter!

  • Mel

    Oh yes, I remember it well–the holding of the hands when they’re wee and the sudden discovery that hand holding days were over. Treasure the moment, indeed. This is so wonderfully written, it’s clear that you already do.

    • Thank you so much… I haven’t WRITTEN in quite a while. Then I thought about this moment and the words poured out of me… as did tears!

  • This is a lovely post Katherine. I experienced a similar thing yesterday during a shopping trip, and it was exactly as you described x

  • Lovely post. I, too remember the time I could carry my little ones on my hip and hold their hands. It’s somewhat bittersweet watching them gain their independence. I am happy for them to come into their own as adults but I miss them being my babies. Now as I watch my daughter with her children, I realize that this will be the case for her as well.

    What cute pictures of you and your daughter.

    • You know Cheryl, that is my saving grace…. the thought of grandchildren!

  • Sigh. I understand.

    And OMG, the two of you are just gorgeous.

  • This made me tear up. So true, and yet we all have to let go and enjoy our children as adults. Beautifully written, Katherine.

  • Ah… what a wonderful feeling. It’s a rare moment when my now grown son wants to sit next to me on the couch. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy working with little kids… I still get my “holding hands” fix accommodated.

  • Oh, Katherine! This is so beautiful, you made me cry!

  • This seriously made me cry. My oldest is only 3 but I don’t ever want to let go of her hand again..

    • Molly, now I am choked up myself!!! At this very minute, my “baby girl” is taking a shower and getting her self ready for her first day of school tomorrow. MIDDLE SCHOOL. Thinking of holding a three year old’s hand again…. sniff!!!!! Enjoy EVERY second… such a cliche, the whole “it goes by so fast”…. but it does!!!!

  • BrendaMoguez

    It’s a bittersweet moment. It’s hardest as they grow older and stop holding our hands. Mine still says I love and for this I am utterly grateful. Sniff sniff.

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