My posts have had more to do with Danny's activities and experiences than Caroline's. Danny and I do spend a lot more time together and we are more similar in personality. My defense is that Caroline is pushing thirteen, and spends less time with me and more with her friends. She is growing up, and slowly, growing away from us.
It doesn't make me sad or wish she were little again. She has always been about 'what's next' in life so this makes sense to me. I have loved and enjoyed each phase of her childhood and never wished that Caroline or Danny could be frozen in time for my sake. But now Caroline is making a quantum leap from childhood to adulthood. She's got legs that are long, her hair has been bleached by the summer sun, she wears clothing she never wore before, and she walks with poise and purpose. I look at her defined cheekbones and catch glimpses of the child she once was and of the woman she will become.
She's no longer cute...she's, gulp, beautiful and on her way to "what's next."
But hold on, she's not leaving me yet. Caroline fell today and split her chin open. It was a small but deep cut and required four stitches in an emergency room at a Lowell Hospital. I hated seeing her in pain, and not being able to make your child's pain or fears go away is one of the hardest thing about parenthood I'd have to say. But I took a strange comfort in knowing that she needed me again - to hold her hand, tell her things would be ok, and to be there for her.
Or did she? I don't know the answer, but I do know that I needed to be there for her. It's selfish and it's silly, but I sometimes miss being "the one" for her, and I have told Deb that I occasionally feel like the muffin tins the old ladies throw out in the classic Dunkin' Donuts commercial when Dunkins began selling muffins many years ago ("We won't be needing these anymore").
But today she needed me...or maybe I needed her to need me.
Caroline makes me proud, makes me smile, and makes me wonder what is next for her in life. I also know that she will figure it out as she goes, and if she stumbles and falls along the way and needs me to hold her hand or simply be there for her then that's what I'll do.