I keep stealing glances at you when you’re not looking.
You’re still too young to be mortified by your mother’s behavior and I am savoring every last second knowing that. Realizing your adolescence phase is right around the corner makes me want to cherish your little girl phase even more.
I realize that stopping you from growing up is not only impossible, but irresponsible as well. Part of my job as your mom is to let you go eventually.
I’m supposed to let you become more independent, more aloof, more at bay. And far less reliant on your dad and me.
I’m supposed to be your eternal compass, guiding you and your behavior in the right direction for your one, special life.
I’m supposed to be your parent first and your friend second.
There is a large part of me who doesn’t want you to change at all from who you are at this very moment. Caught in between childhood and young adulthood.
I love that you are almost 9 years old.
It caught me by surprise to think about how this will be your last single-digit year birthday. Having experienced your brothers getting older before you has taught me that, as each year increases, so too does the space between us. Not in a bad way…just in a life moves on way.
My wish this year on your birthday, as I watch you blow out your candles, will be to not let the next 365 days fly by as quickly as the last 365 days did if I can help it. My other wish will be to let you know these things about your childhood self.
I love watching you ride like the wind on your Barbie scooter. I will miss it when that wobbly back wheel finally falls off.
I love complaining about and then subsequently doing school science projects with you. Soon you will outpace my level of academic genius. Until then, even I can handle baking soda and vinegar reactions.
I will miss holding your hand when we walk, when we rehash our days, when we fall asleep.
I love your competitive drive. I love watching you play sports at a pace that doesn’t consume all of your energy or free time. I know, again from experience, it won’t always be this way.
I love how you sing with reckless abandon, making up notes and verses as you go. And how you don’t dance like no one is watching; rather, you perform as if everyone should be.
I love that you don’t yet have a cell phone stealing your attention away.
I love that you consider yourself beautiful just the way you are.
I will miss the mischievous look in your eye as I watch you climb to the top of every swing set, scale every rock wall, and balance atop fences.
I love that you still like to show up the boys with your natural born ability and aren’t worried about having to show off your body in an attempt to gain their attention.
Because I have lived through the transition of childhood into adolescence twice before with your brothers, I must tell you that this phase you are in is both fabulous and fleeting. Think of it like the weeping willow tree whose branches you swung on for so many years.
Since last spring when that tree was unexpectedly uprooted by the tornado that ripped through our tiny park, I have walked many times by the vast empty space that its majestic frame used to consume and the reality hits me.
You are my final trick-or-treater.
My final hide-and-seeker.
My final almost 9-year old.
I couldn’t be prouder of the young lady you are becoming. But please forgive me for wanting to hold on to now for just a little while longer.
Written by Heidi Woodard