THE BLOG
03/07/2013 10:41 am ET | Updated May 07, 2013

Psychological Stretch Marks

The months and years go by. Like all of you, I mourn the quick passage of time. "Where did the school year go?" I hear my friends asking.

Projects we hoped would be accomplished -- tasks we hoped would be done -- sit unfinished. Organizing photos, cleaning out a closet or a room, reading that book a friend recommended -- many things went undone in the dark and cold months of winter.

Maybe there were emergencies, maybe there were health issues, maybe you just couldn't get the energy together to accomplish everything you wanted.

Regardless the reason, there can be a bit of disappointment when a season ends.

Growth happens in fits and spurts, not with smooth, sliding grace.

With each phase comes
pain,
discomfort,
unease,
restlessness,
sleeplessness,
yearning.

At the time of my mastectomies my reconstructive surgeon placed tissue expanders in my chest. These were temporary bags of saline that would be slowly filled to stretch out my skin to make room for the silicone implants that would eventually take their place. Each week, like clockwork, I returned to my surgeon's office. He accessed a port in each expander with a needle, and added saline to each side to make it bigger.

Each time after a "fill" my chest would feel tight. The skin wasn't big enough for the volume inside, and it would react to the increased pressure by stretching. Until the skin could replicate there was achiness, tightness, a slight ripping or tearing feeling.

A similar sensation happened to me during my pregnancies; the growth happened fast, I got stretch marks. I had visible proof my skin just couldn't keep up: the growth was too rapid, too harsh, too vigorous.

I often wonder if mothers and fathers get psychological stretch marks when we are asked to accommodate changes we're not quite ready for.

What can we do? What options do we have? None. We must "go with the flow" and do the best we can. Our children grow and change whether we like it or not.

We do them no favors by trying to protect them, coddle them, and keep them young.

We give them wings to fly when we give them tools to be
confident
and caring
and inquisitive
and trusting
individuals.

I am often moved to tears as I watch my children grow.

I sit in wonder at the succession of infancy, childhood and adolescence.

I know that as a mother I lack many skills, but I also know that the words I have written in my blogs and essays will one day be a gift to them too. Not a gift to the children that they are, but instead a gift to the adults that I am raising them to be.

Each June as the school year ends I marvel that another academic year has passed.

The growth happens too fast.
The growing pains hurt.
The stretch marks might be invisible, but they are surely there.