In Between



The regular school year is over for my girls, who are ages 8.75 (Littlest) and 11 (Biggest). They wrapped up before Memorial Day, and have since begun a month-long summer program. Here in these parts, summer school is a loose, creative approach at superfluous learning, with no tests, free lunches, daily raffles, and an incentive to earn spending money, the balance for which grows larger the more days you attend. Here, summer school is not a requirement for faltering students or troublemakers, like back in the day.

Anyway, Monday after school Littlest had food—what looked like dried cheese sauce—on her face, either side of her mouth. Likely it had been there since her mid-day meal.

My heart swelled at the sight, because it meant she is still my little girl. She is getting big and becoming significantly independent, but not yet grown enough to find self-consciousness and think or care about whether or not her face is clean. She’s in between. I love that. And I didn’t make a fuss about the food because right now she deserves to float in that space before having to try so hard.

Biggest is at the cusp of the many things girls her age begin doing, all related to development. We recently discussed leg shaving. Some friends tell her she should, and she’s okay with the idea, but she’s not feeling an overwhelming desire to do so, either. She’s in between. It’s another thing I love, both because she is comfortable thinking for herself without feeling pressure from her peers, and because it means that (at least in this way) she’s not too eager to grow up. And she deserves to rest there for just a bit longer.

We started reading Charlotte’s Web last weekend. One evening the three of us sprawled on my bed, as I read aloud the early chapter in which Wilbur escapes from his pen. It’s not lost on me that I, too, am in between as their mom. They may not have to rely on me for every need or task, the way they once did, but I’m still their first go-to. They have friends and extracurricular activities and interests which are shaping their personalities, but they still want to be with me, doing the things we’ve always done.

I love that, and I want to hang onto it. Even when I know I can’t.

Because we’re onlyย in between.


About Janna

writer, editor, marketing assistant, resume consultant, mom, wannabe philosopher, advocate, and possibilitarian / you can call me Janna

Posted on June 4, 2014, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. territiffany

    I love this! Enjoy those precious moments.

  2. Enjoy this time! It’s gone in the blink of an eye. We read The Trumpet of the Swan together. That one is my all time favorite E.B. White story. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I think we’re all always in-between. My kids are 18 and 22. They are, I am. It’s just WHAT you’re in between that changes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Well said, Amy. I totally agree. Mine are 19 and 24 and are always between what they were and what they will be. We are, too. I’m between being a newbie military mom and being seasoned at it. I’m not there yet, but I’m better than I was last year. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy all this Janna, they become women faster than you can imagine. And that’s good stuff too, but there’s nothing sweeter than when they’re little.

    • Janna Qualman

      Sharla, it’s so cool to see my friends whose kids are older, so that I can get a look at what things might be like, and draw inspiration from the way you guys do things.

      Much respect to your sailor!

    • Janna Qualman

      Excellent point, Amy! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Oh, I so agree with you. My two, 15 and 20, are still in the house (thank goodness) and still need me but in a very different way than when they were babes. I am the go-to emotional ATM for them and hope to be for some time, or maybe forever in some ways. I mean, they have one mom and I’m it!

  5. I love your in-between post, Janna. And now I’m wondering if we’re always at the “in-between” stage. My boys are grown, and I miss those years when they cuddled around me. So right now I’m in-between the adult years and the grandchildren years.

    Enjoy every moment with your girls…they grow so darn fast!

    • Janna Qualman

      Thank you, Sheila!

      You’re so right. Every day I realize just how quickly they’re growing and changing. And I think we ARE always “in between” something or other.

  6. Such a wonderful perspective. I agree with everyone above that we are all “in between” one phase or another. The key is to enjoy each one because they are fleeting and each has a shiny side. Love the way you express yourself, Janna.

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