Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oh Darling Don't You Ever Grow Up

Emily just came to me and wanted me to listen to a song. I am glad I didn't give her a hard time and willing shared myself with her for a moment. She played a Taylor Swift song for me and we both sat on my bed a little teary eyed. It is funny how she and I have had the same thing on our mind lately.

I just booked a session with a children's photographer in my area. She is wonderful. For the last few months I have felt like my kids are getting away from me.

Especially Chase and Emily. One a teenager and the other on the cusp. They are becoming little adults, faced with difficult challenges and having to make some hard choices. Constantly I wonder if Dave and I have done enough. Have we loved them enough, taught them enough, propelled them in the right directions. As they both enter into this most challenging phase of life I constantly find myself wishing that they hadn't grown up so fast. I remember when Chase learned to walk and how wonderful it felt to have a plush tender hand holding so tightly to mine. Now he hardly needs me at all. I cried when he started kindergarten and this is so much harder. Then I was giving him up for a few hours each day. Now I have turned him over to himself and the world around him. It is scary.

With his cousin Andrew this summer
Emily and I just had a long conversation a few weeks ago. She is struggling with the feeling of being caught in the middle of childhood and young womanhood. On the one hand she still loves to play pretend and on the other feels that keeps her from fitting in with her peers. As I listened to her I wonder if those other mothers intentionally challenged their daughters to grow up faster. I remember doing that with Emily as a baby. I wanted her to learn to sit and walk as fast as possible. I corrected every beautiful babytized word. I learned my lesson after the first two. What was the hurry? I was squandering one beautiful phase to push on faster towards the next. With Kate and Sara I knew better. Now instead of correcting those little baby words I write every single one down. And when Sara started walking around 13 months I was so glad to have held that much longer. I feel for Emily. I want her to stay a carefree child as long as possible. I have put in huge efforts to shelter her as long as possible from the grown up girl world. The world of fashion, boys and drama. But it is coming right around the corner. I hope she will remember her childhood roots and remember how to laugh and dance around my living room floor!

So the photo session was born. I was returning a scarf to local photographer, Tami Gookstetter when she invited me in to see her studio. All around me where beautiful canvases of colorful innocent childhood. I looked through an album and nearly started crying, instead getting goose pimples up and down my arms. This was exactly what I wanted. One last run through wild grass, one more time hanging from a tree, a final twirl and game of ring around the rosies. I wanted her to capture my children's childhood in a book, full of color and life, a happy memory to always look back on. In that book and my heart my children will never grow up.

Emily and I just shared a beautiful moment about childhood and growing up and it made my heart so full I had to immediately come down to write it all down. I hope she always feels like my little girl. Here is the song.

Lyrics to Never Grow Up :

Your little hands wrapped around my finger
and it's so quiet in the world tonight.
Your little eyelids flutter 'cause your dreaming
so I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light.
To you every thing's funny, you've got nothing to regret.
I'd give all I have honey if you could stay like that.

You're in the car on the way to the movies
and you're mortified your mom in dropping you off.
At 14 there's just so much you can't do
and you can't wait to move out someday and call your own shots.
But don't make her drop you off around the block
remember that she's getting older too.
And don't lose the way that you dance around in your PJ's
getting ready for school.

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room.
Memorize what sounded like when your Dad got home.
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
and all your little brother's favorite songs.
I just realized everything I have is gonna someday be gone.

So here I am in my new apartment,
in a big city, they just dropped me off.
It's so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on.

Oh I don't want to grow up, wish I'd never grown up
I could still be little.
Oh I don't wanna grow up, wish I'll never grown up
it could still be simple.
Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
just stay this little.
Oh darling don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
it could stay this simple.
Won't let nobody hurt you,
won't let no one break your heart.
And even though you want to, please try never to grow up.
Oh don't you ever grow up,
Oh never grow up,
just never grow up.

-Taylor Swift


Sarah said...

You are such a great writer! They do grow up much too fast! Chase is so handsome:)

Jennifer said...

Thanks lady! I think about your family every single day and the roller coaster you have been on. Keep on keeping on!

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful! The shots of my angels teriffic.

Sara said...

LOVE it Jen. Emily has grown up into such a beautiful girl. I can't wait to see the pictures of your kids when you get them taken. I loved talking with you yesterday. I hope you feel better real soon!

Andrea said...

I'm crying as i write this because I am having all these same emotions with all four of my kids right now. They grow up so quickly and I know there is so much more I could have done and am doing with them and for them. I am not a fun mom anymore and I sometimes fell like I'm just a drill sargeant. I hope they cherish all the fun and special moments we have together just as I cherish them.
I love those pictures of your kids. They are both beautiful!

Familia Bethers said...

Jennifer, you so eloquently put in words what so many of us mother's feel! Emily & Chase are such sweet, wonderul spirits and it's a reflection of you, and what a wonderful mother you are! I always look up to you and the great connection you have with all of your kids. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post :) Hope all's well!

Anonymous said...

Not little anymore. I am so very proud of who they have grown up to be.

Jonathan said...

So maybe I should stop fretting that my daughter can't write her name at four...