Seven. Yes, SEVEN. At this point I’m just shaking my head in disblief that I have a seven year old child. I just got around to going through these images I took of her … such fun memories. She actually enjoys for me to photograph her now and has her own ideas as to how the session should go. I dont care; I love it. (you’re welcome for getting that song stuck in your head)
We recently cut her hair (read: I got super tired of the dead ends and cut it dry on a whim in the bathroom ten minutes before we were supposed to be somewhere- sorry Aunt Sheri, you would have done a much better job) It’s already grown considerably since these were taken, as well as that top missing tooth. It’s about half way in now. She didn’t stay toothless for long at all, so I’m really grateful we took these when we did. Something about the whole losing teeth thing is really tripping me out. It’s a huge transition into big girl and every so often I catch these glimpses of the gorgeous teenager and young woman she’ll be … but then, she spins and twirls, and plays with her American girl dolls and asks me to make her chocolate milk and tuck her in and I realize that she’s still my baby, too.
More than love this girl to pieces, she really inspires me all the time. She’s the best person I know. That’s the only way I know how to explain what my heart feels about her.
I had this huge ah-ha moment (thanks for tha material, Oprah) a few weeks ago when this thought loudly entered my head … “SHE’S NOT YOU”. It’s not that I’ve thought she’s me or I’ve wanted her to be me or I’m living through her – its more like, as a mom, I think I try my best to offer her what she needs and wants, when in reality I’m offering what I would have needed and what I would have wanted as a child. Isn’t that how we give love; the same way we wish to receive it? I think that’s how I’ve been approaching this whole parenting thing. I want to give, help, serve and love her the way I, as a child, would want those things. The same goes for guidance or advise or teaching or discipline. I’ve thought things like, gosh, she’s so much like me and I really wish I could have learned to be more organized as a child or I wish I would have learned to manage money and I’ve, out of love, tried to offer those things to her. While I still want to guide her and give her the freedom and space to become the best Mia Grace she can be, I’ve had to take note that she is simply NOT ME (ohmyheavensthankgoodness). She may be like me in many ways and like Mike in certain ways but she is her own person and what I would need or want as a child or an adult for that matter isn’t necessarily what she needs or wants. Her contentment and quiet confidence is something I really admire. While she’s a people please-r like me, she isn’t nearly as obsessed with how people feel about her as I am … this realization is such a relief and something she teaches me all the time.
I thought we had avoided kindergarten and now first grade drama because of my choice in school or the awesome friends she has, but I’ve realized we’ve avoided it because Mia Grace avoids it. If I ask(pry), she will tell me how friends are sometimes not all that kind and give silly examples about not letting everyone touch a stuffed animal brought to school or always wanting to play the “mom” or whatever. Gosh, I rememeber those days all to well. The “fiery, there must be justice and fairness, and no one should get away with being mean and everyone needs me to defend them” side of me thinks, well, she should tell them its not nice to not share, or politely say, I get to choose my role next time … (who am I kidding … I’m really thinking, you just tell her that you didn’t want to touch her stinky stuffed animal anyway – how mature Crystal, get it together)
However, I guess its the sense of mom duty where I must bestow my playground wisdom, I can’t help myself and I offer up some lame advice, which really was more like permission for her to have her say if she wanted to. After my sorry attempt, she was quiet for a while and her response was so inspiring … she said, “Well mommy, then that wouldn’t be very nice of me I dont think … and she shrugged her shoulders in complete ambivalence”. This was far from the response of a person who feels like their voice isn’t heard or they dont ever get a say, or lack of courage to stand her ground. Instead, it came from a place a pure contentment and confidence- like it was a choice to stay quiet and allow her friends to work out their power struggles. That’s when I thought … “She’s SO not me.”
THANK YOU JESUS – She is SO much better than me.
Maybe one day I will learn to just shrug it off … knowing with such assured confidence who I am, and make quiet decisions to be as kind as my seven year old daughter. Um … maybe?