At dinner, my daughter ate 7 hot wings and what was left on her sister’s plate. She has recently perfected the one handed cartwheel. She went to a playdate where her best friend since Kindergarten talked about “getting married and having three children someday” while he pushed her on the swing-set. She will turn 8 in a month. I guess maybe that is why I let her splash in the rain puddles and wear pajama pants to school. I guess that is why the dirty floors and dusty furniture don’t bother me that much tonight.
My oldest has developed a love for music and singing, so we gave her a guitar for her 10th birthday. Along with the guitar, I passed down some of my special guitar picks. I remember holding one of these picks while my cousin showed me how to play a bar chord for the first time when I was 15. In high school, I held a clear pink one between my nervous, shaking fingers while I played a song I wrote for a few boys in a garage – hoping they would let me into their band. (They did.) The following years of playing gigs and making music are some of my happiest memories from adolescence. I used my favorite blue pick during college while playing guitar with my boyfriend at the time in a drafty room in an old loft apartment – the same room where he would take his last breaths just a few months later. There are so many cherished memories that seem like yesterday, only a little faded around the edges… like an old photograph. Clear and focused in the center, but dim and slightly blurry if you look too closely. It’s hard to believe I’m a grown-up now, the responsible one with children of my own… passing down cherished items. Grey hairs and fuzzy memories, they come with time. It catches up to all of us.
My fairy believing baby grew up too much over the weekend. She finally figured out that I was her tooth fairy. She sobbed for hours. I’m not sure the melancholy was merely for the revelation of the non-existence of fairies, but I saw in her eyes a sadness in the understanding that she was growing up. It was hard seeing my baby face a reality of life. Her lips quivered when she lamented that she wished she hadn’t found out until she was 18. I don’t know if I could have kept up with it that long, but I would have tried my best…because I’m a mama and I don’t want my girls to grow up just yet.
I’m actually hanging on for dear life.
It is brutal passing through the elementary years at a frightening pace. I’m not ready for the “baby” and “little girl” years to be through. I had just gotten the hang of that part, now it is almost over and we are thrown head first into the shaky ground of tween angst and the beginnings of hormonal drama. I, too am sad for the reality of a home no longer enveloped in that certain type of magic and mystery that is only present when children are living there. I will desperately miss the gleeful shouts upon discovering fairy dust and hand written notes left under pillows. I cried right along with her.
Sometimes I can’t breathe, it hurts so bad this stuff of being mortal, of growing up, and passing on. We are a quick blink in time, a tiny dot on the historical radar screen. We are all fading to specks of dust quicker than we realize. I don’t know what those without the One True Hope do when thoughts of growing old take root in their brain, but I cannot fathom the darkness without knowing of His light.
We have a beautiful life to live here, and an even better one waiting for us in the future…one that hopefully includes clouds you can eat, fairies flying, mermaids swimming, snowmen that talk, and of course, our beloved pets that have gone before us. I’m not an expert on heaven, but I’m almost certain these will be there simply because children exist.
In the meantime, I’m relishing the sweet parts of my girls childhood because there are many more memories to be enjoyed. So, I’ll just be over here telling them to believe in unicorns and fairies, reading them Peter Pan and keeping my fingers crossed that they will continue to wear the cute dresses I buy them.
And with every growth spurt, I will keep chasing down their childhood, begging it to stay.