Mamawolfe blogThis is a guest post by Jennifer Wolfe, a writer, middle school teacher and mother of two teens. Here she reflects upon the challenges of growth and metamorphosis for both children and their parents.

“Her life now hovered on the cusp of change…at this precise intersection in time, contemplating both distant memories and the uncertainty of the future, she knew she was standing on the lip between past and future. she had not yet taken a step forward into her new unwritten life.” Lee Woodruff

She stands on the cusp of womanhood, her body and mind blossoming in unison. Only seventeen, the future spills before her with temptation. Choices abound, crashing through her day as she contemplates which class to take, which test to cram for and scrolls through glossy promises of college after college, holding her future in their hands. On her bedroom floor, littered with hastily scribbled to-do lists, fading birthday streamers and balloons nearly deflated, neat piles of laundry await, compromises about what to carry away to six weeks of summer ski camp in one not-so-gigantic bag. I can still see her childhood smiling back at me as she packs.

He bounds into the room, red faced and sweaty, backpack full of treasures discovered in a neighbors’ ‘free’ pile down the street. Deserted childhood bowling trophies, a half-filled helium tank, a roll of unopened masking tape and someone’s discarded Sacramento Rivercats handkerchief now strewn across the baby blue carpet of his bedroom. He is thirteen, teetering between that round-faced little boy I toted on my hip and that suave seventh-grader gently holding hands with his girl after school. He towers above me now. It’s his time to sample life, taking n taste after taste of all the world has before him. One class after another, new sports, new friends. A decision about a ski academy, the move-in date etched in our minds. Moving away before I’m ready. I grin as he gulps down his favorite dinner, and push myself back into his childhood.

I’m riding the line, straddling the fast lane. Since when did the teeter-totter weigh less on my end? Motherhood, once so physically exhausting, has now shifted its pressure. My mind tethers me to the past and drags me into the future. I write, I teach, I parent, I love, forever remembering who I am first and wondering how long that will last. We push ourselves to travel, to meet new people and speak their language. I strain for their hands, hoping to catch a finger before they soar off in another direction.

We hover on the cusp of change, dipping our toes into the unknown waters and in that precise moment, contemplate our next step. We ride the ebb and flow of life, sometimes skittering to the safety of shore, occasionally squeezing our eyes shut and diving into the wave. The future lies before us like a foggy horizon, and we, cautiously, carefully, often blindly, scan the horizon, searching for the lighthouse.

You can read more by Jennifer Wolfe on her blog, Mamawolfe: Life lessons from a mom, teacher and citizen of the world