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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Bearing silent witness

Posted August 18, 2013

This past week, my older daughter started her last year of middle school. My youngest daughter begins her last year of elementary school tomorrow.

While in many ways these are merely coincidence, and symbolic, they do mark the passage of time in our family’s life, something I am becoming increasingly aware of as my children inch away from me in to their independent lives.

“Mommy, I’m just calling to tell you goodnight and that I’m having a great time,” my 10-year-old said through the receiver during a recent summer night sleepover.

I was groggy having gone to bed an hour earlier. When I heard the phone ring, I had assumed it something bad, that either I was being called in to work, or my youngest was having separation anxiety and needed to come home. Amanda Lamb's older daughter

“I love you. See you tomorrow,” she said cheerfully, click.

I pictured her smiling, cherubic face and sparkling blue-green eyes on the other end of the phone. I then lie fully awake in the darkness as my husband fumbled to return the receiver to the old-fashioned phone by the bed. I wondered when she grew up. Maybe it happened when I wasn’t looking.

“Can I take a picture of you?” I asked my oldest on her first day of eighth grade. At 5-foot-8, tan, with perfect shampoo-advertisement-hair (think 70’s Breck Girl) and a cute sundress and sandals, I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. I wanted to preserve the moment. How did this happen so fast?

“Mom,” she whined. “No! You’re always trying to embarrass me. You’ll it send to everyone,” she said with good reason.

Having a mother who is a blogger, a memoirist and active in social media is a teenager’s worst nightmare. She finally relented. And yes, I did post it and send it to family members. The feedback was expected, When did she grow up? Did it happen overnight?

But I saw something else in her picture that no one else could possibly see. I saw the same face that smiled up at me when she was just six months old, a baby in my arms, comforted by our closeness.

Even if she couldn’t see it, I could. Mothers are the keepers of memories, the historians of their children’s stories and the silent witnesses to their passages…

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.



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  • pisgah2005 Aug 20, 2013

    A lovely post, Amanda. I take a photo of my son each year on the first day of school...When my son is sleeping, I see how big he is in his bed, and I wonder how the time has passed so quickly. Every day is precious. Thanks for reminding us all!

  • pinkletoes Aug 19, 2013

    My oldest started second grade today. You are right, it goes so fast.

    Also, I know it is not the "thing" to say these days (it seems we're only supposed to tell girls how they are smart or kind or talented) but, your daughter is such a pretty girl. She also looks confident -- good job, momma.

  • mdwrfw Aug 19, 2013

    My oldest child turned 40 last week.....the years go by so quickly, but I have enjoyed every stage of my children's lives. Now we have 6 grandchildren and I am getting to go through all the "firsts" again.

  • sunflowergirl9371 Aug 19, 2013

    Amanda, your story brought a tear to my eye because I am asking myself the same question right now. My oldest will be 21 this weekend and it just doesn't seem real to me. It feels like we just brought him home from the hospital.Although my role in his life has changed somewhat I will always be cheering him on from the sidelines as he spreads his wings and begins his own journey and writing his own story!

  • babbleon1 Aug 19, 2013

    Lovely. Thank you, and best of luck to all the parents out there.

  • JAT Aug 19, 2013

    Yep, I still see the same face of the little baby I brought home from the hospital, staring at her for hours making sure she was Ok and breathing and amazed that I created something like that. That face may have braces now and longer hair and deeper dimples, but there's still a bit of that baby there. And I still stare at her (when she's not looking of course) and am still amazed that something that beautiful could be mine!

  • jpittard2 Aug 19, 2013

    For me, that moment happened at the formal dance at the end of his last year in middle school! Dressed in a suit with the tie draped over his shoulder (Mom can not tie a tie)he stepped out of the car when some girls said "He looks like Brad Pitt!" I looked back expected to see my son with that cherubic face that charms his teachers out of extra work. I saw him in an entirely different light. He was grown beyond my recognition. I couldn't explain it to my husband later but you explained it so well.

  • blueskyglass Aug 19, 2013

    On Friday, I delivered my 16 yo daughter to UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. When she was 11, she TOLD me she was going there for HS. I laughed and said no, not gonna happen! She studied really hard in school, completed 100's of hours of community service and worked on her God-given talent, visual arts. She can take the stub of a pencil and a scrap of paper, and produce something you would want to buy. I can't draw a straight line. I am so very proud of her, but my heart is shattering into a billion pieces. I wanted to stay all day Saturday, but she sent me away by 2 pm. Between the rain and the tears streaming down my face, it was not an easy trip back home. When I did get home, her little sister was already moving her things into the big, empty room. SLOW DOWN, EVERYONE!! Mom's not quite ready for all of this. My advice to all of the parents out there, and to myself... Breathe...Smile... Breathe... and let God take it from here. Starry Sky, I miss you already!!

  • hmmmmm Aug 18, 2013

    hsiflee....It means looking like a chubby baby angel, like Cupid or like you would see in a mural.

  • hsiflee Aug 18, 2013

    cherubic? What does that mean in English?