Friday Photo: Grown Don’t Mean A Thing

L and C 2015

“Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, but grown? What’s that supposed to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing.”

~ from Beloved

by Toni Morrison

Life changes when one of your children moves out of the house. Yes, the obvious things sting at first: an empty seat at the table, a bedroom that looks more like a hotel room, and a serious reduction in the laundry load. Over time, I’m finding, it’s the little things that get under my skin, that erupt when I least expect it and I find myself grasping for anything to hold onto – anything to feel safe and ‘normal’ again.

The holidays felt like that – a fleeting, ephemeral run of moments in which my heart would palpitate with the idea that things might be different this year, that our traditions and joys and moments we look forward to might be vanishing into distant memories.

I’m not ready for that quite yet.

It was an exercise in holding on and letting go, an endeavor of wills to choose from what was, what is, and what the ‘new normal’ will be. I struggled to figure out how to find a moment when the four of us could be together to decorate the Christmas tree. I waited to make the treats we love until she was back under our roof. We never did find time to hang the outside lights, drive around at night to view the neighborhood decorations, or do a full fledged day of Christmas shopping.

Thanks to my talented sister, though, we managed to get a Christmas card photo. That’s something that in normal circumstances is challenging at best, but when one child is 650 miles away, it becomes nearly impossible. In all the turmoil, excitement and confusion of the holidays, this photo is my greatest gift. My children. Bigger? Yes, definitely. But grown? Not really. Not yet.

I’ve got one more day with my girl before she leaves to her new home. She’s grown, moved away, and is creating her own version “normal”, but that doesn’t really mean a thing to me. In my heart, she’ll always be my first baby, my girl, the one who introduced me to motherhood. He’ll always be the little one. Moments strung together, like a tangled mess of discarded Christmas tree lights, cement their place in my heart. Flashes of what was, what is, and what will be light my way through the darkness.

No, grown don’t mean a thing.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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21 thoughts on “Friday Photo: Grown Don’t Mean A Thing

  1. Jack says:

    It goes so very fast.

    My oldest is fourteen and will be starting high school in September.

    Every week he seems to be taller and exhibiting far more signs of the teenager and hints of the man to come than the boy and baby he once was. I know how fast time moves, I’ll blink and he’ll be in college and the world will have changed again.

    1. Yes, Jack, you blink and they’re gone. It’s so bittersweet; the hard work we’ve done as parents really shows up at these times of transition, but I’m not ready to let it all go quite yet. Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. As a mother of 3 little ones (5, 3, 8 months)…..I don’t look forward to this!
    Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats recently posted…Maple Glazed Pecan SconesMy Profile

    1. Ally, the time really does go so quickly. I’m sure you have your hands full right now…but try to enjoy the small moments you have with them! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Very nicely written. I feel the pain and love in your words (and know it’s coming for us, too).
    Kari Peterson recently posted…Not Blue at AllMy Profile

    1. Kari, it’s hard to avoid it. Pain and love are hand in hand these days…wishing you strength as you get ready for your boy to fly!

  4. Now is the time for you to revaluate and discover new things! Wishing you the best in this time of adjustment.
    Aimee @ Captivating Corner Blog recently posted…Freezer Friendly Pot StickersMy Profile

    1. I like how you phrased that, Aimee – re-evaluate and discovery are really positive approaches to change!

  5. Erlene says:

    Doesn’t time go by so quickly! My oldest will be graduating from hs this year…eek! I’ll probably look at them as young kids until they start their own families.
    Erlene recently posted…Scratch-off Valentine’s Day Lunch Box Jokes PrintableMy Profile

    1. Yes-years are minutes, aren’t they? And starting their own families…I’m sure that will happen sooner than I’m ready for, too! Thanks for commenting!

  6. There are days I still miss my mother, but I’m grateful that she’s only a phone call away.
    Nadine Renee recently posted…Are You Sleeping With “The Enemy”?My Profile

    1. Phone calls are good – my daughter prefers Snapchat and texting, though! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Beautiful! And I completely agree, grown doesn’t mean a thing! xo
    Kathy Radigan recently posted…No Need to FearMy Profile

    1. admin says:

      Youre right behind me with your son…the teenage year are amazing, arent they?

  8. Dawn Wink says:

    ““Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother.” ~Toni Morrison. What a wise and True quote. Thank you, thank you for this! So grateful to share in All.

    1. admin says:

      I just love this quote. It takes its place front and center on the top of my journal…i find it comforting. Grateful here, too.

  9. Alli says:

    All of my kids are grown so I feel a little of your pain! They all live within 30 minutes of me and I can’t imagine them being 650 miles away. I completely agree – it doesn’t matter how old they get they will always be my babies.

    1. Alli – does it get easier? Is it like pulling the Band-Aid off? I would love to think that my kids will wind up near me, but the reality is that they are both adventurers, both love the mountains and will likely wind up located somewhere where I will have to visit…thank you for commenting!

  10. Lily Lau says:

    Grown doesn’t mean anything, Jen. Don’t worry, she’s still your baby 🙂

    1. Oh thanks, Lily. That’s always a good reminder…she is missed.

  11. […] won’t last forever, I remind myself, these moments when life pushes along and I sometimes chase after it. These years that are really moments, these moments that hold my […]

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