My two oldest daughters are 7 and 9.
I don’t know where those years went. They don’t seem that long ago, and at the same time they feel like a distant memory. They are a blur of having three babies all two years apart. They are in between still being a baby and heading into middle school. These days are sweet, but they are different.
Gone are the days of tears over juice boxes and broken toys. Now, the tears are over grades and broken friendships. These tears don’t run as often, but they are the tears that make my heart ache and I cry along with her.
The “I hate you mom” yelled from the top of the stairs doesn’t sting so much. I know by now that she doesn’t mean it. Emotions run high and words come more easily. I just wait at the bottom of the stairs for her to return to hug me, cry and say what is really wrong.
Gone are tears from her brushing my hair or torturing my skull. Now she is gently brushing my hair until it is soft, tells me how beautiful I am and asks for me to do the same for her.
Gone are the annoying early morning cartoons. Now I can actually can sit and watch “K.C. Undercover” with them, and I can’t wait until the next episode to see if she ever defeats “The Other Side.”
There are less toys and more earrings. Less batteries and more wifi. But occasionally I catch the two of them playing dolls in their dollhouse. I sit and smile because these moments I treasure more. The innocent play days are fading away. They are sweet and short, and I record the sounds in my mind as I hear them giggle together.
I may not hear the innocent “I love you mommy” as often, but when it is said, it has meaning. The hugs goodbye at carpool are fleeting, but the hugs hello are still strong. The questions are deeper … a little scarier at times … and some of the most important talks we will have. These are the talks that will shape her, and these are the talks she will remember.
The birthday party invites come less, but the friendships are deeper. I see her growing and connecting, and she is amazing. I see glimpses of the woman she is becoming, and my baby she will always be. I will continue to hold her tight when she needs to be held and let her fly when she needs to fly.