I was a Girl Scout “daisy” when I was a little girl, still wet behind the ears. It must have been kindergarten or 1st grade. When I got a little older, it was time to ceremoniously and publicly, cross the wooden bridge from daisy status to BROWNIE magic. The title of “Brownie” meant a higher responsibility, but also more reward. It was clear, even to my simple 9 year old mind, I had crossed the bridge. Let the new Girl Scout life begin.
I often am looking, waiting, searching for that wooden bridge to cross now, as a parent. I feel like I’m standing in the middle of the bridge most days. Waiting to cross. Waiting to know what the other side looks like. But mostly, dazed and confused about what the original side of the bridge even looked like.
This is real life as a parent. We don’t get to cross ceremonial or physical bridges … nor do we get to see our babies cross them. Those sweet newborns come out as pink and wrinkly love bugs and before you know it, they are more like sticky and running stink bugs. They travel closer to their independence and farther from our safe keeping with every passing day and each milestone checked.
I remember when my babies were so little and sweet, like little piles of syrupy pancakes, barely making eye contact.
I would think to myself, what will it be like when they look me in the eye and smile? A few months later, I thought, what will it be like when they move across the room? And a few months later as they started to babble confidently to everyone and no one, I thought what will it be like when they say, “Mama, I love you”?
In my mind, I think, there will be a bridge we cross together. We will wake up, go to a bridge, and together, we will declare, OK – today, we are embarking on stage # 234. The talking toddler. The toddler will spontaneously declare acts of love and will from time to time, use her own opinion to work against the all positive intentions of the mother. The mother, is now armed and ready and cool as a cucumber to approach this stage victorious. Congratulations, you have crossed the bridge.
I realized yesterday as I looked at one of their newborn pictures, how much has changed without my permission or notice of a bridge being crossed. I thought to myself, “Look at those babies, they were so easy to love.”
Now, as we approach age two (gasp & choke here), I feel like somewhat of a hybrid: a cross between a rookie and a seasoned vet. So much under my mommy belt, with so many lessons ahead. So many bridges yet to be crossed but so many traveled. Sometimes we just have to open our eyes and realize the bridge doesn’t really end – it just keeps on going… gradually and beautifully.
What part of the bridge are you on – are you resisting or walking with confidence?