My oldest child is 8 years young, although she seems to be growing up more and more each day. Watching PG movies, using special face wash, and taking charge of styling her own hair. I feel pride at the amazing young woman she’s becoming, and at the same time I am all too aware of the way her time as a little kid is slipping through my fingers.
Unlike many parents, I don’t get teary on my kids’ birthdays. I feel happy to have witnessed their growth and transformation through another year. But watching my daughter take her first steps toward the tween and teen years tugs at my heartstrings.
I savor the photos I take of my oldest and youngest daughters where they are both wearing bright colors and patterns from the little kids’ section of Target. I savor the few moments when my 8 year old is still willing to hold my hand in public. I savor the times when she plays legos, Barbies, and make-believe.
I savor the pictures she draws and stories she writes, and hope she will hold on to that creative outlet as she grows older. I savor the times when she asks me to snuggle up next to her in bed. I savor when she puts her arms around me and calls me “mama.”
I also savor her lack of tantrums. Her ability to stir something for me on the stove while I’ve nursing the baby. The fact that I can trust her to watch the baby while I take a quick shower. I savor her ability to complete her homework on her own. I savor her enthusiasm for keeping her room tidy.
It would be easy to favor one side of the coin over the other, but really 8 years old is a mixed bag…a place where each foot stands in two different worlds. It’s full of growth, learning, and a special little girl to savor and enjoy just as she is in this moment in time.