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five minute friday: she

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.

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“What did I do wrong?”

I had been sharp with her. Unnecessarily so. She hadn’t done anything wrong. I was just tired of not being listened to and had raised my voice in response to the cacophony of the little ones running away from,  while simultaneously giggling at and ignoring my repeated requests. She had been sitting quietly on the couch watching Word Girl. It was almost bedtime for them and my head was filled with the swirling clutter of our kitchen, the undone daily to-do list, the mountain of unwashed laundry and the books and toys that the children seemed to see as a household obstacle course to be serpentined through rather than picked up after. She was sitting amidst the three ring circus of our living room and I wanted some help cleaning up.

She’s almost seven now. Light years from the toddler who used to grin with a carefree enthusiasm that was hard to pin down. She takes our words, our tones, our looks or lack of them into her tender heart and mirrors them back in her daily interactions with others.  I hear it as she scolds her dolls and reminds her friends and sisters of the rules and how to act in both their very real and make-believe-land and I frown making a mental note to temper myself. To give her more emotional freedom to remain the unencumbered little girl that darts between big-sister-hood and little-girl-dom on a whim. Who frequently entwines her unending mommalogues with requests to be the baby next lifetime around with predictions that when she grows up she’ll be not only a teacher but the person in charge of them.  

She.

She’s not a baby anymore. Not a toddler or a preschooler to be shaped and shepherded at every turn of the schedule and activity. She is venturing out into her school and her community and becoming not just the person I expect her to be, but the girl she wants to be. A girl who matches her striped shirt with rainbow polka-dotted jeggings because she likes the way the patterns play together. A girl who wants to sing Katy Perry loudly in the car with the windows rolled down rather than listening to me sing another verse of the unending family version of the Barney song. A girl who loves to both get a smiley face on her weekly spelling test and ask in baby tones if I’ll carry her to bed tonight. A girl who wants to be the one to choose which restaurant we go to for dinner but will still only eat cheese quesadillas and mini-corndogs most nights. A girl who begs me to not take her picture in front of her friends but photobombs the shots of her sleeping sisters.

She didn’t do anything wrong.

She. She’s just growing up before I know how to let her.

Stop.

12 thoughts on “five minute friday: she

  1. I’m not a mom, but I am a big sister… my sisters are 8 and 10 years younger than me. So I still relate! I went from babysitting them when they were toddlers to inviting them to my house for dinner and a day at the festival and giving advice about not dating for the sake of dating or what major to go into once they graduate. I’ll pray for your growing girl! and for you, as you adjust to her growth. 🙂

    • Thank you Hannah. It’s great to have that little glimpse into the potential future with my three girls. I love the thought of that connection staying strong and drawing them in close as they grow!

  2. i hurt when i hear me coming back at me through the mouths of my girls because most of the time, i don’t like what i hear. God uses my children to teach and mold and change me… all the time.

    thank you for your transparency in this post! and for the reminder that our kids don’t just become what we expect, but who they want. some days more than others, that’s hard, if not impossible, to swallow.

    • I know that feeling all too often Richelle. It’s true- we grow during this period as much as the little ones we think we are growing!

  3. What a beautiful post! I don’t have children either but I have a younger brother and I am still honored when he comes to me for advice and we talk. I will be praying for your girl. She is so precious. love the photos of her!

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