On summer, tweens and fireflies

On summer, tweens and fireflies
Photograph by Digital Photo Blog

I was surprised when I turned the calendar and it said July. I do realize that July is the month that follows June, fear not, but it doesn't feel like we've been summering long enough for the 4th of July to already be in the rear view mirror. How is it that summer is nearly half over and it feels like it just began?

It feels like this summer has gone faster than the ones before it, though I don't have an explanation as to why. It's possible that I've just forgotten the exact feeling at this point in prior summers, which makes me sad. But it feels like as I get older, time in general speeds up. The fact that I'm on the downhill slide of my parenting time gives the passage of time additional momentum.

Being two-thirds of the way through the time that this child will live under our roof year-round has altered my perception of time. I don't know that I've taken it for granted completely, but I value it more now than ever.

Perhaps that's because my child is counting down the days until she's a teenager.

She is so looking forward to that milestone, and to things like homecoming dances with friends, driving a car and dating, things the make parents shift a bit in their chairs and swallow a little harder than usual.

Yet at the same time, she's also holding on to childhood in her own ways.

We headed out on a road trip recently and I asked her to pick out two DVD's, one for the way there and one for the way back. When we were in the car I asked what she had picked.

She opted for Divergent and Frozen. Apparently, being a tween is about appreciating fantasy, be it of a  gritty dystopian or a musical Disney nature.

Her two disparate choices so clearly illustrated how the tween experience consists of existing in two different worlds, not wanting to have to fully commit to either.

On that trip, we went into Kaleidoscope in Kansas City just to look around, as it was a space meant for children to create artwork. The sign did say that it was "for families of all ages" but she was rather convinced it was too babyish. A few minutes later, she had a marker in hand, intently coloring a new creation that would be turned into a puzzle.

I got to see a quick glimpse of her kindergarten self. It was a true treat, albeit a fleeting one.

The glimpse and the delight it brought reminded me of spotting fireflies on a summer night.

Fireflies start to make themselves known at twilight - that space between night and day. It's a slip of space, just like that between childhood and teenagerdom.

You love to see them, you know they won't be around long, and you know you cannot really capture them. My efforts to sustain a firefly colony in a mason jar as a child were never successful. I have learned to appreciate that their fleeitng nature makes them that much more special.

While it is a delight to see one firefly, you are still always on the look out for more of them.

I'm hoping that the next few weeks hold more fireflies, and more chances to peek back in time at my little girl, before the summer is over.

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Prior Post: Round up of posts about parenting tweens and teens

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