My youngest. She’s been holding onto her childhood for quite awhile. She’s never been like her big sister who wanted to be an adult at the age of 11. Nope. She loved being a child. Her imaginative play has always astounded my husband and I.
My youngest is one of those children who can’t just play with her Barbies or PetShop toys alone. No, she’d have to get books out to spread all out as bridges or driveways, blocks to build garages, and paper to make trash for them. Her play would usually end up incorporating her whole room and then when it was time to clean up, I’d get a woeful, “But mom! I just got it all set up!” And since it was usually so dang adorable and creative, I’d let her keep it up – resulting in a mass mess for weeks on end.
Thinking about it now just makes me smile. It’s so endearing.
My youngest is the kind who has a name for every stuffed animal (buddy) she owns. She sees one on vacation in a shop, and literally has come to tears at the thought of leaving it and not bringing it home with her.
Near the end of her 6th grade year – she suddenly (and I mean ‘suddenly’) almost overnight – had an explosion of maturity take over her. She started taking showers. On her own. Without me telling her to. She started wearing lip gloss and bigger earrings. She started wearing trendier clothes and actually wanted to start straightening her hair. This is a girl who would hardly let me brush her hair! I was impressed. Excited.
Then the clincher happened. When all of the above took place, I was on board. It was time. She was starting to pay attention to her looks, and I loved it. But then, she looked at me and said, “I’m thinking of putting my Pet shop and Barbie stuff in the playroom.” Gasp! What? Your beloved girl toys? Yep. She was ready to remove them from her room.
I was shocked.
I was impressed.
Then when the very next day she removed them out into the hall and I came up the stairs to see them all awaiting my attention – I felt like crying. Again, as I strategically found homes for them (for even though they are out of her room, she was not quite ready to remove them from our home altogether!) I found myself growing more and more emotional.
My baby. My baby was growing up.
Oh how we long for things. We complain about all the toys that scatter about or nearly break our feet as we tread over them. We long for cleaner rooms. At times, we even wish our children could do certain things for themselves. Then when they do, our heart yearns and pines for those childhood years that are gone…..forever.
I did everything I knew how to do to relish, soak in, and enjoy every minute of my kids’ childhood years. And somehow, they still blew by me like a freight train.
I love the ages they are at. I love to shop with them, and start to share jewelry and clothing. I love that they can actually give ME advice on what I’m wearing! But oh – how I miss the times when I could sit and brush or braid their hair, read them a book at bedtime, or have them run to me so excited to see me with their arms stretched open!
Growing up. It has to happen just like everything else in life. And I will be thankful for the years I’ve been given. Every second.