Not So Fast Little Girl

I’m lying in bed with my five-year-old daughter, trying to get her to think about going to sleep when all she wants to do is talk. She’s tossing her arms wildly around and talking as fast as possible when she announces that one day she wants to be a photographer just like her mommy. She’s got a plan: we’ll work together and she’ll get to stay up so late with me at all of my weddings.

But then she starts in on what she really wants to do…

“…and one day we can skip work and go get our nails done…”

“…and one day we can skip work and go to New York and see Wicked…”

“…and one day we can skip work and…”

I’m starting to believe she doesn’t think I do anything at all for work when she cuddles in close, starts to put her head down and says, “Mom, I just can’t wait to be an adult.”

Whoa, no, slow your horses little one!

Your mom is definitely not ready for that! I’m not ready to give up the way you need me when you fall and scrape your knee. I’m not ready to give up the smile you give me when you find a new unicorn dress stashed away in your closet. I’m not ready for you to stop prancing around the house in your new dance costumes or the bottled up anticipation you have for a dance recital. I’m not even ready for you to stop fighting with your brother. One day I’ll forever miss the conversations you have when you ask him to teach you how to tell time.

Watching you grow up is the joy of my life, little one.

Last night after my girl’s baseball game I told her I was so proud of her because when she struck out she didn’t pout or cry; she just went back to the dugout with a smile and said, “Oh well.” That’s not how most of this season has gone; in fact, we’ve been talking a lot about the team versus me, and not comparing ourselves to our teammates (especially her brother). When Olivia responded, “Mom, I almost did cry but then I heard your voice in my head and I didn’t,” I could feel the tears in my eyes. How long do I get to be the voice in your head, little girl?

I can’t say I’m really all that surprised. She is her mother’s daughter after all, and I’m pretty sure I spent the better part of my childhood ready to be older than I was; ready to grow up and be on my own; ready to not be told what I can and cannot do. I was ready to make my own mistakes. Nobody told me how much more fun it is to be a kid! Or maybe they did and I didn’t listen — just like my daughter does these days.

Here’s the thing my little one: you’ll miss these days too.

You’ll miss the days where you can paint and draw and do your art all afternoon if you want to. You’ll miss the fancy costumes and the dresses that spin out so perfectly. You’ll get tired of putting on makeup instead of thinking it’s the most fun day when you do your mom’s makeup. You’ll work so late and you’ll miss time with your kids, kids who are growing up way too fast and before your very eyes.

Every night as my sweet daughter repeats this little diatribe I realize her dreams are quickly becoming my dreams too. How fun it would be to have my best girl with me all the time to skip work and play with. Most of me knows she’s way too independent to really want to stick with her mom all the time once she gets older, and I know she’ll fly away and soar and do amazing things with her kind heart and go-getter spirit. She’s a “watch out world, she’s going to change you” kind of girl with her big imagination and whimsical soul.

Take your time growing up little girl; I want to hold you close as long as I can.

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