Maybe it was because today has been a pretty crummy day, maybe it was because I didn’t have much sleep last night, maybe it’s because I’m getting sick and I’m feeling sorry for myself, maybe it’s because of the sentimental time of the year … regardless, I felt sad at the fact that my little girl is growing up. Fast.
Thing is, I remember when she first had that particular loose tooth of her’s pop up. In fact, I can still remember all of the toothless grins and giggles that she had for the first 13 months of her life. And now — she’s on the verge of losing that tooth, to be replaced by a permanent adult tooth. It’s a noteworthy milestone, and one that I need to stop and reflect on.
I know that everyday Emma is changing — whether it’s her newfound love of reading and math, her conversation skills (oh that girl can talk), or her ever-growing-out-of-her-clothes stage (how did I produce such a tall child?!) — but lately it’s been difficult for me to keep up with who Emma is becoming. It seems like just when I think I’ve got her figured out, something new enters into the equation, and I’m left having to adjust my understanding of the person she is becoming.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a bad thing! Change is important. But change can be difficult, too.
I suppose what I want the most for myself is to be the kind of mama who is open to accepting all the changes Emmalee will go through — physical, mental, and even spiritual. I don’t ever want her to feel trapped thinking she needs to be who the person her mom thinks she should be (or thinks she is).
It’s funny, I often tease her at times by pleading with her “stop growing!” She usually responds to me: “no, mama. I’m growing!” Yet the other day after I teased her about how fast she’s growing, she got all reflective and philosophical on me (those traits come from her daddy). After I play-pleaded with her to stop growing, she looked at me and said: “No, mama. If I stop growing, I’ll die.”
Of course, following that moment she giggled and went onto being her usual playful 5-year-old self, but what she said has stayed with me.
There are ways of dying on the inside, especially when people don’t accept you for who you are or the choices you make. I hope that I can have the kind of relationship with my daughter where she will never feel like she’s stuck living up to who I had gotten used to her being. Not only that, but I also hope to be just as flexible and accepting of my friends and colleagues, as they change to become more of who they really are.