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She’ll be 10 soon.
I remember this age she’s at so incredibly clearly — that fourth grade year when everything shifts suddenly and it becomes the moment in time when you remember everything: the cliques, the naivety, the budding interest in boys, the really tough homework and the teachers who really challenge you.
It’s an incredibly fun but also difficult age (or at least, it was for me). It was sort of like toddlerhood on steroids — “Help me! I don’t want your help!”
I’ve been extra sensitive to her since this year started. Praying I can teach her to guard her heart because from this point forward, her heart is going to need guarding. Life starts to happen — really happen. And it’s supposed to — friendships change and you change and everything just changes! and it’s simultaneously awesome and awful in that “Help me! I don’t want your help!” way.
The boys were away so the two of us went out to dinner — just us girls. There was no one in this room but we still grabbed a table in the corner so we could be tucked away. And she brought her diary and turquoise pen and started asking me to list three jobs and three cities and three cars and I knew…I knew exactly what she was doing.
Because I remember this age she’s at so incredibly clearly.
The way she played was a little different than I remember — maybe there are West Coast/East Coast versions. So when she declared I was married to someone else’s dad with 10 kids living in a shack in Houston, Texas — I took every opportunity to teach her the right way to play.
And we spent the next hour drawing boxes and lines and X’ing out the answers we hoped to keep and she would laugh this laugh filled with evil glee every time she circled something I was unhappy about.
And it was just so. much. fun. Me and her — being girls and laughing at being married to HIM because he’s so gross and picks his nose. I overplayed my disgust at having eight kids and being stuck with an old Buick. And then she asked for silly stories from my childhood and she loved it all just so very much.
(Especially when I told her about accidentally peeing my pants at church in the second grade.)
Being with her tonight — being her mom in a being way and not a doing way — made me re-realize who she is. How innocent and tender-hearted and awesome she is to hang out with.
And it also made me realize I can do motherhood all day long, but what matters most to her is being mom. Being nurturing and tuned in and guiding and sharing — not from a heart of control, but from a heart of grace. And from the heart of a girl. A girl who remembers this age she’s at so incredibly clearly.
I just hope I remember her at this age she’s at so incredibly clearly.