Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Let Them Be Little

Auburn Aries’ last day of second grade is tomorrow. My baby girl, the one I just gave birth to yesterday, is going to be a third grader. My little angel face who changed my world by crawling at five months and walking at ten months is growing up. In many ways it’s very cool. And in many ways it’s sad.

With each passing year she becomes more intelligent. Dwindling are the days I can recall something quirky she said because she was little and didn’t know the difference. With each new brain cell that develops, it overrides the innocence.

For instance there was:

“Rain, rain, go away, come-a-back another day.” Now she knows the real lyrics. Come-a-back is gone now.

The way she’s always said exercise… Extercize. Gone.

The way she would ask me, “Don’t you hate it when you get the leftovers of the pen?” referring to ink that balls up on cheap pens. Now she just wipes it away and moves on. Or uses one of my expensive pens I thought I had hidden.

Or the time she was explaining a game they played in P.E.:
“Yeah, we played never-ending tag. It’s like real tag, but with a chicken.” Don’t think for one second I was able to stifle laughter at this conversation. By the time we were done we were both laughing so hard we couldn’t get control.

Now she loves math, reading, art, science.

She reads constantly. She used to spell out loud the words she couldn't figure out. Now she knows them all.

Now she no longer needs me to sing Wynona’s “To be Loved by You” before she goes to bed. I started singing her that song when she was a newborn. When she was eight months old, she was hospitalized with acute asthma. I stayed in the hospital with her and never left her side. I was up 48 consecutive hours, was dead on my feet and that was the only song that would soothe her. I sang that song through tears of worry, fear, and exhaustion.

I’ve sung her that very song every night until a little over a year ago. She knew all the lyrics by the time she was four.

I would lay next to her on her bed with her snugly wrapped in my arms and stroke her hair. She’d sing it with me - she couldn’t sing on key, but I never cared. By the time the song was over, she would be sound asleep. It was our moment that we shared every day. I looked forward to it from the minute I woke up each day.

Now she crawls up in bed and gives me a kiss. She listens to music instead of her Mom.

Now she uses terms like, “I’m at the end of my rope with ‘snotty girl x’ at school.”

Now she negotiates everything believing wholeheartedly she can sway the outcome. Pisser is, most of the time she can and she knows it. Sometimes I suck at sticking to my guns.

No one warned me of the true impact a child has on your life. I doubt seriously that there was anything anyone could have said to have truly prepared me for that reality. I am changed. I am no longer the woman I was ten years ago. Nor would I want to be. A tiny little girl that weighed seven pounds twelve ounces changed the course of my life.

It’s as though I went to sleep and when I awoke, she was eight.

Nothing, however, will ever change the feeling of her little arms around my neck, hearing her say 'I Love You Mommy' or knowing that somewhere inside of her - no matter how strong a woman she becomes - she will always need me.

She will always be my little girl. My Auburn Aries. The daughter that changed my life forever.

Who would have thought it – I’m actually sad to see second grade end.

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