I know I sound like every other mother out there with every passing year when I say once again that it baffles my mind that my daughter is seven years old. It seriously feels like it was just yesterday that her tiny tightly swaddled body was placed in my arms for the very first time - like it was moments ago when I looked in her eyes for the first time and asked the question 'who are you? What great things will you do in your life?' And realized at that moment in time, just how much a mothers heart can love.
It hasn't been all lollipops and dandelion daydreams, though. I would be blatantly lying to ignore the challenges we've had in raising this beautiful, strong willed, insanely smart girl of ours. And since I hope that our kids one day read this blog - to see the ups and downs of their childhood documented in the written word - I have to tell it all - the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.
And I struggle with that. I tend to down-play your abilities. I don't want you to get that proverbial 'big head,' nor do I want to be 'that mom' who thinks and acts and tells the world (in an annoying way) just how awesome their kid is.
But for the record, even though I may not say it - or may shrug off the compliments you receive when I'm around you - I think you are, indeed, amazing. You baffle me.
The other night we were watching the Carolina football game and a commercial came on advertising trucks. I can't recall the brand, or what they were saying - but the image was of the truck racing across the desert with a band of wild horses just behind it. You stopped in your tracks - feet frozen to the ground (which is what you typically do when you are deep in thought) - watched the ad - then turned to me and said 'mommy, I don't get it. What are they trying to say? That trucks are faster than horses? Duh... of course a truck is faster than a horse...' and went off on your way.
How many kids stop to think about the meaning of a TV ad? I'm sure I would have stopped and watched the same ad at the same age - but I would have been watching the horses - and daydreaming about how pretty they were...
And that's just one small example. You constantly bring things to my attention that I would have not thought about - or realized as important - and you constantly observe and process and conclude things that are beyond your years.
You are also very articulate. Your vocabulary is one of a teenager - and your reading level is off the charts. You write amazing sentences, and intricate stories, and while you struggle with spelling - and always ask 'mommy how do you spell ___?' - I'm kind of glad there is something you need help with.
You love to write letters and love notes to your family and friends - and I adore receiving your notes that say 'I love you mommy' on them more than you can ever know.
You are extremely artistic. Your drawings are down to the minute detail. Last year, in kindergarten, the class was asked to draw a fly. Every child drew a picture of a fly - taking up most of the sheet of paper they were given. Not you. You drew a tiny fly in the center of your page - a detailed and to scale drawing of a fly - true to size.
You are a sweetheart. You love tremendously and honestly and openly. And I'm realizing as time goes on just how sensitive you are. Your feelings are easily hurt, and I worry about you as you move forward with friendships in your young, yet dramatic life. I remember how awful girl friendships were in grade school - one day someone is your best friend - the next they aren't. It is a tumultuous time - and I hope I can provide you the love and support and guidance to help you navigate this stage of your life and come out on the other end relatively unscathed.
You adore family - and would like nothing better than to be with your younger brothers all day. While you really like to order James around - and we constantly need to remind you to play WITH him and not tell him how to play - the two of you have amazing imaginary games. You are the princess, he is your prince. You are the damsel in distress, he is the pirate. You are the mermaid, he is the sea creature sent to chase you. And you are so sweet to Jack. I think you think he's still a baby at times - which he protests greatly - but you are very protective of him - and rush to hold his hand or put your arm around him when you are out in public (much to his dismay.)
You love to help - and strive to do your best in all you do. You don't settle for 'that's okay' - rather you'll work hard to make sure you get whatever it is you are trying to do right.
You are fiercely independent - and want to do everything yourself. I admittedly struggle with this. I want to give you your freedom and let you grow... but it's hard for this mama to watch you grow into a little girl from the baby I feel like I just held tightly in my arms. And, you want to help - you willingly accepted your list of chores on the 'chore chart' and have no issue completing the tasks listed. And if we had more time, I'm sure you would be right by my side helping to cook as much as possible.
Another challenge is helping you keep your emotions in check. This started at the end of the last school year - hit a peak over the summer - and is seeming to subside now (THANK GOD). It's hard to see you become SO upset and SO emotional over EVERY thing that doesn't go according to your will. It is improving - and I hope it continues to do so as the school year progresses.
The Ugly - okay, so that's an exaggeration. You are my child - and nothing NOTHING you could ever do would be really 'ugly' in my mind. But again, there are definite challenges. Mostly stemming from the fact that you think everyone on the planet just fell off the turnip truck, and you have somehow been stuck living among a bunch of blubbering idiots. And again, we're working on that - and it is improving.
I wish I could explain to you now, and in the future when you read this someday, just how much you are loved. I know from personal experience that you will never fully comprehend a mother's love until you are one day, a mother.
My friend Kathy over at 3 Little Loves once said she wished she could bottle up her children's personalities at each age and put them on a shelf forever. I wish I could do that as well.... I think most moms do. I'd love to take you off the shelf at this age in about 15 years - when you are off at college and starting your own life - so I could remember the little seven year old girl who adores the imaginary world, can't get enough of all things fairy and Barbie, who has a tender heart and an open mind.
I love you my baby girl.