My little girl is growing up fast. Too fast. In her four and a half years she has learned more than I have in the past decade, she is excelling in nursery school, and has friends and interests that don’t depend on me. I am immeasurably proud of her in so many ways… but how desperately I want her to slow down.
This morning I watched a video of her at three months old. She was clutching her cuddly toy Sheep, pristine, white and nearly the size of her, and making cooing burbling sounds whilst I talked to her. At the same time, the four and a half year old Miss Rose was holding the exact same toy Sheep, now a greyish cream and somewhat matted, and charging around as Sheep bobbed at her side, not even the length of her thigh.
I want to hold her close and beg her to stay little. Come September she’ll be off to full time school and my days with this precious child will be increasingly numbered. Stay little, I want to beg. Stay with mummy. Don’t grow up.
But I know I can’t. I can’t keep her small, I can’t keep her with me. Even if I tried it would do more harm than good as she needs to grow and learn and flourish in the world as she grows into the astounding woman she’s going to become, and it’s my duty to held her along the way.
I am encouraging her to grow. To have responsibilities and challenges. I am watching my baby learn to fly the nest.
Her latest big girl change has been when crossing the road.
I am neurotically careful about road crossing. We look left, right, left again. We listen carefully, point out cars, choose a safe spot. We hold hands, and keep looking as we cross the road. I have allowed her to take on a new responsibility and she is thrilled. I let her cross the road without holding my hand. She has strict instructions. All the same steps must be completed; looking, listening waiting. She takes it very seriously, a look of immense reverence on her face. And then we cross. When we reach the pavement at the other side she looks at me with glee in her eyes and announces “I did it!”
Yes, she did. She did it. She crossed the road without holding hands.
My baby girl is growing up and I can’t stop it. I can help or hinder it, but it’s happening whether I want it to or not. And I don’t want to get in her way. I don’t want to baby her and hold her back. She’s learning so much and growing into such a wonderful person that I want to celebrate her, encourage her, take huge pride as she spreads her wings and takes off in the world. I want to let go of her hand.
In four short years she has gone from the fragile, vulnerable child barely bigger than a fluffy toy, to a little lady who crosses the road and is well on the path to adulthood.
Parenting a little child is hard. She is dramatic and stroppy, she is exhausting. But she is growing. Our days are numbered. Our time is almost up. One day she’ll be grown and gone and she won’t pine for the days of her childhood in the way I will. She won’t miss the days when she crept into my bed in the night and clung to my legs when she was scared. She won’t remember the feel of my huge hand wrapped around her tiny one. She won’t remember the pride in her eyes as she reached the pavement without her hand being in mine. But I will. I will remember. I will remember.
I want to encourage her, admire her, watch her fly. I want to hold her close, never let her go, keep her my baby.
I’m letting her fly. But it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
She doesn’t need to hold my hand anymore. And how I will miss that tiny hand in mine.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!