But I also love who they are now. I love their passion and their knowledge and their insights. I love sharing interests with them. I love our deep conversations. I love their growing independence. I love seeing them do things they love to do that they've worked hard to learn how to do. I love so many of the same things they love. I love doing things together that we would all choose to do on our own. I wouldn't miss this for the world.
Too, I already love the glimpses I'm getting of who they might be in the future. I know tomorrow is promised to no one. I know anything could happen. But I'm still looking forward to what might be. When it gets here, I don't want to miss a minute of it.
And here's a new (to me) realization about all this was/is/might be: as moms, I don't think we have to pick. I don't think we have to entirely let go of one to fully appreciate and (dare I say it?) cherish the others. I don't think loving who my children are now means I love who they were or who they might become less.
I am a keeper of past memories. There are things I saw and heard and experienced that I have first rights to because I was there, front and center.
I am a caretaker of present realities. I am sounding board and counselor and adviser and cheerleader and comforter. I am still a key player in my children's day-to-day lives, even if that mostly amounts to keeping our protein bar selection stocked up and sending encouraging "you can do it!" texts.
And I am a nurturer of future possibilities. I have a front-row seat to big decisions my children are in the thick of making. Sometimes I have a voice in them. When these decisions play out (however they play out), I'll be able to say, "I remember how this all started."
My children took their first steps on those chunky-thighed legs I loved so much. Today, they dance and hurry to classes on those lovely legs. And some tomorrow, they might walk down a wedding aisle or chase after their own babies on those strong, capable limbs.
As their mom, I was part of their yesterdays. I am part of their todays. I hope with all my heart I'll be part of their tomorrows.