Crossing the pre-teen ravine

A couple of nights ago, my two daughters and I set up yoga mats in the living room. I had discovered that I could stream yoga instruction videos through Netflix's "instant play" option. So, we set the laptop on the coffee table, selected a video and stretched our way through downward dog and camel. I'm searching for new ways for us to enjoy time together, now that they are leaving childhood. I'm actually in a small panic about the whole thing, although I tell myself that it will pass. Dan-my-husband went through this several months ago, as Isabelle rounded her 12th-and-a-half year and bulleted toward 13. "She was such a great kid," he mused one evening, changing into his pajamas.

"She's still a great kid!" I replied, defensively. But I knew what he meant. Her interest in being a child had been full and complete. She barreled down snowy hills, caring to catch every mogul. She worked her diving board technique with a religious passion. She never met a dog she didn't go out of her way to greet. Rocks from her collected adventures littered my kitchen windowsills.

Isabelle's maturity was the first shock, but Charlotte, 17.5 months younger, is following fast behind. They are dragging up the rope ladder behind them. Suddenly, I find myself with -- O, joy! -- time to pursue the interests I have been suppressing these long years, more than a decade. I emerged recently from a three-month jag of writing a book proposal, having satisfied a long-deferred longing in my heart, only to find that my daughters no longer needing me so intensely. I felt as though I had skipped a chapter somewhere, lost a transition. Lost in transition. Maybe that's what I am.

But I don't want to wallow in the melodrama of it all. And so, the yoga class. I am determined to move into the future alongside my daughters, these near-women. I hope to cross soon to the side where the gain is as clear and perceptible as the feeling of loss.