Growing

She starts third grade today. She’s eight years old but is still a newborn and is on the cusp of losing her naivety and entering tweendom. And as I made her lunch this morning she unexpectedly told me she didn’t want her princess sandwich-keeper and I projectile-teared all over her turkey sandwich. Where’s the fine, blurry line between keeping the little in your girl and giving her freedom to grow up too? I can’t make time slow down and I’m trying so very, very hard.

This girl of mine…she’s so special. She’s cute and smart and innocent and sweet and full of sugar and spice. She’s loving and a leader and tries so hard to do the right thing and beats herself up when she doesn’t. She treats her brother like a baby king and carries him around on her shoulders never letting his feet touch the ground. She’s sassy and cracks me up all the time and is such an anomaly of introvert and extrovert and I realize daily how much she takes after me and how much that scares me, too.

Third grade was pivotal just 31 years ago and was the first year that boys started to be cute and they didn’t have cooties and I wanted to get special valentines from them. My first kiss on the cheek came in third grade and I had an innocent crush on Bo from Dukes of Hazard. And I learned times tables and started being able to write my name in cursive and I actually got in trouble in the classroom one day that year with my name written on the chalkboard and everything. I hadn’t known what peer pressure was before and suddenly I wanted to be just like everyone else and the essence of what made me me was pushed aside so I could fit in.

Oh how I do not want that for her.

I prayed for her today. Early while it was dark blue outside and the sun had just yawned and stretched and had its first cup of coffee. I yawned and stretched with it and we had our coffee together and I prayed for her and for this year. Because I have a long list of intentionality I still haven’t finished and I need to be intentional about being intentional.

I prayed that Jesus would walk with her this year. That He would link His gentle arms in hers and be her guide and her friend and her conscious. I prayed He’d whisper clearly in her ear and drown out the shouts of everyone else no matter how loud they yell. I prayed He’d pour His strength into her so she doesn’t waver when faced with temptation and fear and that her shoes have soles of peace so her confidence comes from knowing Who she really belongs to. I prayed He would draw her talents and giftings and abilities to their fullest potential and that her mind would stay sharp and smart. I prayed He would remind her that He is in her heart always and that He is her Savior and her King and her Friend and that His plans for her are for a hope and a future. I prayed He would shower her with love — today and this year and forever and ever amen — because He loves her a million times more than I ever could.

I read to her what I had prayed and I cried and I held her on my lap for just a minute longer because I didn’t want to let go. I gave her not one but two slices of turkey bacon and wrote a big “3” on her toaster strudel. And as my tears dried and I promised I wouldn’t cry when I dropped her off at school, I watched the icing melt across the edges and into the beginning of a new day.

Ending

So here we are at last. It’s the twilight of summer and the sky is purple and hazy and the gentle breeze hints at a new beginning to soon come. Smells of fresh cut grass and chlorine and mornings that start well past 9 am have tucked themselves away for another long pregnancy of learning and growing and stretching and creating. And we’ll wake tomorrow to smells of wood pencils and plastic folders and school uniforms and 7 am once again.

I hate saying goodbye to this — to this summer of new adventures and lazy mornings and times where we laugh and play and dance and sing. I hate saying goodbye to this — this summer where I’ve kept my babies under my wing and held them close and nuzzled them and stroked their sun-kissed hair and smooched their freshly freckled faces. I hate saying goodbye to this — this summer of me learning to sit Here, in this place and in this season of embracing Mommyhood completely.

This was the first summer I felt free to embrace Here. It was the first time I wasn’t married to my phone or chained to my computer or had an office I had to make an appearance in once or twice a week. It was the first time I didn’t have to drag my kids to meetings and expect them to sit still while I feverishly tried to brainstorm, cross off details and get input and direction. It was the summer I always dreamed of since the very beginning of motherhood.

And now it’s ending.

While I am the first to embrace change and seek it out well before its time, I sit here reluctantly letting go this time. I don’t feel ready and I’m afraid I haven’t given enough and there’s a long list of intentionality I haven’t crossed off yet. Was this enough for them? Was it enough for me?

But because I trust God and I trust the cycle of seasons and processes, my grip is loosening. And because I know with every ending God brings a beginning and something completely new, I muster up anticipation for tomorrow. Because the caterpillar learns to fly and the dandelion’s parachutes lift off and go into all the world and God never calls you out without also calling you in.

So I choose to sit in green pastures and be still and be free and welcome this goodbye. And as I bid farewell, I peek around the edge of the summer sunset and wait for the next hello.