When Miss G was little, I spent the day at school or at work missing her-- telling stories about her, planning what to do that evening with her. And every day I was surprised at how little she really was-- in the afternoon when I picked her up from daycare, such tiny shoes lined up next to the door. Or when I saw her tucked in watching Star Wars on the couch, only the slightest arc of her head visible above the cushions. Or nestled up with her Pig at bedtime, barely a bump changing the blanket's landscape. Her chock-full personality loomed in my mind; how could all that chutzpah fit into such a tiny package? How could something two feet tall pack such a wallop?
And now when I see her, I think "My god, she's enormous. When did she get so big?" And her personality is still not contained neatly within.
Where'd the middle part go? How did she move from too small to too big without a middle part? Worse, how'd I miss it?
Then I realized, I'm still in it. I'm surrounded by middle part.
Parenting is not a verb with a concrete culmination. It's a jumble of stages crammed together. There wasn't a missed mythical 'right' size, when Miss G's height magically matched her energy level and angels sang and everything made sense.
For a middle to exist, there has to be a beginning and an end. Parenting begins clearly enough-- one day there's no baby, then the next there is. But it doesn't wrap up in a bow at age eighteen. Or, you know. Ever.
It's a lifetime of middle part.