Last night, my daughter and I spent the night in our small tent in the backyard enjoying the stars, Radio Disney, and Stack the States Challenge. (Boy...she is better than I thought with that app!) We had snacks, comfy (really uncomfortable) accommodations, and ADVENTURE. That's what Jay calls any "mom time"...adventure. Whether we are riding the motorcycle out to visit grandma or hanging in a tent, when we are together...it's adventure.
As the night wore on and Jay got sleepier, I watched her start to slide back in years. Parents know this. We see our kids grow forward and slide back constantly. A word or phrase used as a 7 year old gets dropped and picked up later at 9. The way Jay slid back last night just made me think. Her little hand grabbing mine. Her snuggle up with her favorite Bug (stuffed toy). Her feet wrapping around my legs. All these little physical signs are so very like Jay. She used to do this constantly, but she's getting more and more independent. She seeks out time with other people more and more.
It made me think of my children as satellites. At one point, they just orbited right around me. A very regular pattern, predictable, comforting. I knew their limits, their choices, their abilities. They had these little growth spurts, but they came back quickly. My gravitational field with their...we just existed together in this motion.
Now, as my children are getting to be 10 and 11, I see the satellites starting to drift. They are falling out of orbit more and more often. They snap back for awhile...during back yard camping trips. But, my gravitational pull just isn't enough to keep them in orbit. The need for showing individuality and independence is more and more evident. (You would think with their mass increasing, the gravitational pull would be greater. But...)
This is both a really cool thing to experience and heartbreaking. I just wish I had more time in the satellite mode. I know that I have no right to demand more of this time, refusing my children the amazing experience of growing and experiencing the world. It's just a little daunting.
Maybe at some point, the laws of physics will kick back in. Maybe these next years of drifting orbit will be hard for me. But, hopefully our combined mass will be so great, they will be unable to come back and visit that comfortable orbit.
Just thoughts of a parent...
(Probably all of this was spurred by Pluto having another moon added to it's growing list!)