Growing Up is Bittersweet

flower change

Three years ago, I had a dream I’ll never forget:

I was dressed in a white t-shirt, jeans, and boots. I felt oddly out of place.  I was at a fancy affair at an old English castle, like a garden party at Downton Abbey. Women wore chiffon pastel gowns and the men were dressed in suits and hats.

I was surrounded by lovely couples dancing and sipping champagne. As I desperately tried to look inconspicuous, I felt something drip down my chin. I licked my lips and tasted blood. I opened my mouth and a tooth fell into my hand. My tongue slid around the rest of my teeth to make sure they were still intact. A couple more were loose and crumbling. 

A man with a top hat asked if I needed help. He said he was a dentist and could fix my teeth. He said he had to get something, and he’d be right back. He never returned. 

I woke up, my heart pounding and sweat trickling down the sides of my face. I bit down hard to make sure my teeth didn’t move.

It’s rare for me to have such a vivid dream. I wondered why I had it and what it meant. I promised myself I’d google it when I got up.

That morning I sat at the computer and typed in “teeth falling out dream.” I practically fell out of my chair when I read what it meant. It symbolizes change. That makes total sense.

My youngest daughter Talee was a senior in high school. Her basketball career ended the day I had that dream. Her team, which was undefeated, lost in the playoffs. Talee had played since second grade, and that sport was a huge part of our family’s lives. The loss was a huge disappointment for Talee and her teammates, but it also was for my husband and me. Talee had decided not to play in college. So her basketball career was over.

There was so much I was going to miss. The friendships we’d made over the past ten years, with the girls and their parents. The tournaments, the team dinners that I loved to host, and the games. I’d never again sit in the bleachers to cheer for my girl. I’d never feel the rush of excitement when Talee blocked a shot or made a basket.

Not only was basketball over. Soon Talee would receive her high school diploma and head off to college. My oldest daughter Mackenzie had been away for a few years. It was hard when she left. I missed her terribly and it changed our family dynamics. But Talee was still at home. Now our house would be empty. That was more than I could bear.

All I ever wanted was be a stay at home mom. I was fortunate to be able to do that. I thrived in our busy household and wanted it to last forever.

My dad told me, “They have to grow up. You can’t stop them.” No, I couldn’t. And I truly didn’t want to. I’d brought my daughters up to be independent and confident young women. They made me very proud, and I was excited to watch their futures unfold. But change is so hard. Bittersweet.

I’ve adjusted well since my daughters have ‘flown away.’ They still need me, but in different ways. It’s a new season of life for all of us, filled with challenges and exciting adventures.

At least I haven’t had any more dreams about my teeth crumbling and falling out.

***

Image courtesy of: http://iancleary.com/5-stages-of-change/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 thoughts on “Growing Up is Bittersweet

  1. I went through a tough time about six years ago when my dad was dying and my son was in the throes of severe OCD. I started having dreams where I’d just put my finger to my mouth and all my teeth would fall out or I’d be brushing my teeth and they’d just fall out into the sink. Frightening! It never even occurred to me to research it, but a year or so later I heard something on the radio about how many people have dreams such as these. For me, it was definitely a symbol of how I’d lost control over my life, with two of the people I love most in this world slipping away from me.
    Who knew these dreams were so common? Certainly not me! But as is often the case, we get through what we need to get through and life goes on. Glad things are better for you now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janet, so sorry to hear about your difficult time. Very interesting about your dreams! It’s so strange to me how our dreams can reflect what’s going on in our lives. And in the strangest, scariest ways! I’d never googled what a dream meant before. But with this one, I just had to. It was so vivid, I knew it had to mean something. Thanks for sharing, and it’s nice to know you can relate. I hope you’re doing well now. Jenny

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  2. I enjoyed this very much. I felt like I was reading about my future. Thank you for sharing. I have experienced the tooth dream before changes occurred in my life too. I guess we are all connected by change. It’s the only constant in life.

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  3. thanks for sharing your dream….I raised my kids to be strong and independent….I never knew how much it was going to hurt to see them leave….don’t get me wrong…I am the proudest and happiest mom that lives, I am sure I share that feeling with a zillion other mum’s, however the inner pain of loss still is with me and my baby is 29 and been gone since he was 18……kat

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    • I feel the exact same, kat. It hurts a lot when they leave. It felt like I had to go through a mourning period, mourning for that period of time I loved so much and could never get back. I’m so happy because my oldest daughter just texted and said she wants to come home for the weekend 🙂 I hope you don’t live too far from your son, so that you can see him once in awhile 🙂 Have a lovely weekend! Jenny

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      • I had never lived any further thatn 15 minutes from either my son or daughter until we moved to the desert, now we are 13 hours straight driving from them…a very good days drive…I miss calling to see if they wanted to meet for coffee or breakfast…I miss them more than I can say out loud….my only consolation is that they are happy and living there life as they see fit….enjoy your girl this weekend….xxkat

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      • Thanks kat! I can relate… There are many times I think, oh I wish the girls were with me. To get coffee, run errands, etc. Sorry your kids are far away. But like you, I just want my kids to be happy… If they’re happy, I’m happy 🙂

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  4. The progression of age, it never quits…even after a loved one dies, you don’t forget. As I was reading this, I was going to respond as to what I’ve read about teeth falling out, for I’ve had several of those types of dreams in my journey through this life. Odds are I may still have more like them as I age and change…I’m glad to see that you have stumbled upon some of the truth about nature…it isn’t linear, but cyclic, like the seasons…yes, a part of you will “die” (as death also indicates a period of change or an aspect of one’s personality or life is changing)…but let us not forget the joy of spring.

    Like you said, it is going to be different; however, you can embrace these changes with positive affirmations, prayers, and trust in God. After all, without Him, you may have never had any children.

    So instead of feeling sorry for your loss, I will say I am so happy to hear that your daughter has her wings and that even though you may miss her, try to find comfort in the knowledge that you were and are the best mother and that you raised her up in a house of love and warmth.

    Peace,
    LaVancia

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  5. I love the whole concept of your blog – it has a wonderful message and is thoughtfully and beautifully written. As I’m not a mother myself, just a teenager, I haven’t expeirenced what your feeling but you seem like an amzing mom and your kids are lucky to have you.

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  6. Wow what an interesting dream. Yes those are big losses and a big transition. I remember when I noticed my daughter was growing up; the hugs stopped. I was so sad and I mourned my little girl. It sounds like your did a great job helping them grow up. I know it’s hard to let them go, but now your have time for you and doing things you love and rediscovering who you are.

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    • So true Traci! You’re right, and I don’t usually think of it like this, but as my girls are growing up, I am too. I know it sounds so obvious but my focus seems to be mostly on them getting older, not me. But of course I am, and going through my own life transitions. And discovering/rediscovering myself 🙂 Thanks for the comment! Jenny

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  7. I have always thought that our dreams are windows into our hearts and minds.

    My cousin recently had a dream about the same subject, and her daughters are all starting their own families, careers and moving out and moving away. She called me right away to talk about this, and of course it led to researching and discovering how profound and meaningful this was for her.

    A few cups of coffee later, she revealed how much she was enjoying her time, but was missing her girls.
    I reminded her of her grandbabies, and she said…

    “Yes, and when I am too tired and they are thoroughly spoiled, I can send them home, and recoup until next time.”

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    • So interesting about your cousin having a similar dream. I love that she called you to talk about it, you must have a close bond. And yes, she has grandbabies to look forward to! I remind myself of that when I really am missing that time when my daughters were young. Hope you’re having a lovely day! Jenny

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  8. I’ve had the teeth falling out dream and as I was reading this I was thinking…CHANGE! ha.
    It scared me too. Very vivid and made me paranoid about my teeth for quite some time. Silly, but true.

    You really struck a cord for me with this ”All I ever wanted was be a stay at home mom. I was fortunate to be able to do that. I thrived in our busy household and wanted it to last forever.”

    Me too. My son is almost 20 now but when he was about 16 I was really struggling with him not needing me anymore and trying to find my place in the world. I’d been mom for so long, I didn’t know where I fit anymore. Someone said (about being a stay at home mom) ‘If you do it right, you eventually work your way out of a job”
    So true!
    This was a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for those kind words, and I’m glad you can relate! I felt exactly as you did. Sometimes I still do. I think about what my purpose is, and how/why I’m still important to my family. I know I am, it’s just different. But when they left, it was like, “what do I do now??” I still would love to go back to the time when my girls were toddlers, or maybe when I volunteered in their classrooms and drove them everywhere. I loved that! I can’t believe you had the teeth falling out dream! A few people have told me they’ve had it, and I can’t get over how universal it is. Yes, change! Hope you’re doing well and have adjusted somewhat to your new season in life. Thanks again, Jenny

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  9. The way you described your dream seemed so real I felt I like I was there. Dreams have a way of reflecting what’s going on in our lives although I’ve often wondered why some of the abstract concepts in our dreams relate to specific situations. I remember when I brought my first born home from the hospital and just how rapidly he changed from a sleepy infant to a wide-eyed toddler and sometimes it hurt that time wouldn’t stand still – just for a moment – so that I could enjoy this baby for a while longer. Today, I look at the 30 year old man he has become and I can’t help but be in awe. Change is bittersweet and unfortunately is the only consistent thing we can rely upon. However I’ve found, as I’m sure you have as well, that as parents our jobs are never really over, rather the role changes. Kudos to you and your husband for raising your daughters into the women they’ve become.

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    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Stephanae! You’re so right… the one thing we can always count on is change. I know exactly what you mean, how fast our kids grow up. It seems like one minute I’m changing diapers, and the next, they’re going off to college! Okay, not that fast, but you know what I mean. 🙂 But I enjoyed every day, every stage. And there’s no way to make time stand still, so I guess all we can do is soak in the beautiful moments and remember them. Take care, hope you’re having a great day! Jenny

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