Recently I turned to look at my oldest daughter as I said something to her (can't remember what I said and it's really not important), and I realized something that I hadn't noticed before.
She is no longer a 'little' girl.
When did this happen? Did this new sense of maturity come in with her new front teeth? When did she lose the last of her chubby 'baby' cheeks? And when did she grow so tall?
I see my children every day but apparently fail to actually 'notice' them, at least to be able to recognize all of these little changes. I know that's common, but I still feel like somewhere I missed a drastic clue as my first baby has moved out of 'preschooler' and into 'kid'. She's wearing 'adult' shoe sizes now (well, only a 1 - but still!), she's reading for herself, and no longer has to be helped with little things like troublesome zippers or shoe-tying. Oh yes, she has her immature side, she can hardly sit still and she's not as socially astute as other kids her age probably are, but somewhere along the way she's become a fairly responsible, helpful, self-sufficient, person.
Who can reach the buttons on our above-the-stove microwave without a step stool. And who can wash her hands in the kitchen sink because she's tall enough to turn the faucet on and off herself. Who can get to those childproofed, high places where we've grown accustomed to putting things out of their reach.
And is getting somewhat close to being able to look me in the eye.
It gets harder every day to remember back to when she was small enough to carry in our arms or when she could comfortably curl up in our laps without sprawling out into the chair. The days when she needed our assistance for every little task are forever gone. And as nice as that is most of the time, a part of me yearns back to the days when she needed me more, like her little sisters still do.
Before I know it, she'll be off on her own, doing her thing, living her life. And that's the way it's supposed to be. I just wish that it didn't happen so quickly - wasn't she just five yesterday? And three the day before? She can't have been a baby more than a couple of years ago, right?
I wish I could freeze just a moment - a slice of time from each and every age so I could remember, could re-live those days again, if only briefly.
Because she's halfway to being a teenager now - and if the past 6 1/2 years have gone by this fast, then I know the next will be gone
before I can