Sunday, January 31, 2016


Dear Zoe and Talia,

Over the past several weeks, I've been working on a blog post that I hope to submit to The Huffington Post. The piece revolves around you (this isn't it) so my brain has been working overtime thinking of you wee beasts. And then, I realized that your birthday was approaching, and that fact, of course, threw you both front and center in my mind. (Not that you aren't always front and center, but sometimes, I do think about other facets of my life!)

Each time I stopped to think about you both, I felt paralyzed by the fact that you would be turning 14 years old. FOURTEEN! Or as Daddy would like to say, 2x7, 3+3+4+2+2, 17-3, or even that it is the base of the tetradecimal notation. I should also add, since you've been using the periodic table of elements this past year, that the atomic number of silicon is 14 and it's the approximate atomic weight of nitrogen. Fourteen is also a number that seems too little and yet too big all at the same time. I remember distinctly being told that two babies inhabited my body, and then someone pushed the fast forward button on my life and here we are, talking about Hetalia and writing, swapping inappropriate jokes at the dinner table, and swooning over Matt Bomer. (We can't forget about him.)

There. I thought you might like to just sit and look at him for a minute. Go ahead. (It's from IMDb.)
In fact, give the clock a minute and we might be standing at your college graduation. I kid you not. What I wonder, though, is why the fluidity of time strikes me as new every year. Why does it hit me square in the face every January, as if I didn't know how quickly time passes (or at least seems to)? Somehow, I think my conscious mind tries to forget that fact in an attempt to slow down time so I can savor the moments with you. My attempts are all in vain, I know.

In an effort to get to my point before your 15th birthdays, let me try to be quite frank about what's percolating in my head. I've been doing a lot of thinking about you and how you're growing up. (Of course you do, you say! We're getting older, Mom. What the heck? In fact, I can see your eyes rolling right now.) But I've been thinking about your growth and maturation in two ways.

The first way is completely physical. Growth partly entails moving from embryo to fetus to infant, toddler, adolescent, young adult, and adult. You gain length and width and increase in size quite a bit, which is relatively easy to do if you're healthy (and thank goodness you always have been). But the second way to grow and mature is not physical but happens as you physically grow. (How's that for convoluted?) As you grow, and as your brain grows, you not only increase in size, but you gather information and experiences. You make memories. You learn lessons. You gain wisdom. Some of the memories and experiences you toss out, like a wilted flower among fresh buds, and others you store for later. But each of those experiences influences you and helps you make future decisions. As a parent, right now, I want you to make the best decisions you can. In fact, let's be honest. I want you to make the decision I would make. But I can't expect you to do that because you've only had 14 years of experience whereas I've had 42 years. How fair is it to expect a decision based on a learning experience that might not have happened yet? It's not fair at all, is it?

So here's what I'm trying to do for you in this new year of yours (besides love you as much as I already do and maybe even more so). I'm trying to think of you in the moment. I'm trying to see you as you are right now. I'm trying to let you be who you are without all the micromanaging I'm inclined to do. I'm trying to let you learn your own lessons, fight your own battles, and plan your own agendas. I'm trying to back off a little, not because I don't love you, but because I want to celebrate you. Each of you. Talia. Zoe. Not even Talia and Zoe, but then again, yes to the and of course. I'm going to concentrate on allowing you to learn your own lessons, take your own experiences, and watch you as you shape your own future.

I have to admit, this year will be difficult for me. Each year brings you further and further away from needing me as much. And even though I relish your independence, I know I'll miss doing everything for you and being so very involved in your lives. But my heart sings when I think of what you two are each going to become. So in the end (just like always), I can't wait to see where this new year takes you.

Happy Birthday Zoe! Happy Birthday Talia!


T said...


Christina said...

I had to post that picture. It's a small present to them.

Barbara Halabi said...

A day late but Happy Birthday Zoe! Happy Birthday Talia! I hope you both had a great day

Christina said...

I'll pass on the message, Barbara! Thank you!