My daughter has been moving rapidly through lots of emotions recent weeks. There’s been sobbing and screaming and mad times and plenty of laughter and silliness and snuggles. She is on the road to nine, strong and proud, both keenly aware of her world and comfortable in it.

At the same time, she’s feeling the loss of something she didn’t know could go away. She’s pivoting, turning towards growing up and missing being a baby. She’s experiencing the challenges of this world and worrying about the time when her life will be her responsibility and her parents are no longer there. Part of her is excited and part of her is scared. Same goes for her parents. We love watching her growth and we also miss those early days. All three of us move between being excited for her future and wishing we could stop time.

Whenever she grows physically or emotionally or stretches herself and takes a new risk, she counterbalances her exploration by playing baby games and talking in baby voices and becoming little again. When she’s being little, she wants to play any of the games we’ve been playing under the covers since she was a toddler. When she’s being little she clings to me and climbs under my shirt or asks me to carry her just like I did when she was a baby, so she can be completely and thoroughly held and cared for.

Last night after her gymnastics show, her teacher told her she had graduated to the next level. A milestone.

Then this morning came the pivot.

Instead of doing her math homework, she started doing backbends. Then she did a backbend over me, so her feet were on one side of me and her hands on the other. She pushed her head into my stomach. I protested: “Hey, my stomach’s in there!” and she responded instantly with “No, I’m in there. I’m in your belly!” Then she shifted out of the backbend.

“Mom, did I come out head first or feet first?”

“Well, you tried really hard to come out head first, but it was really challenging. So, you kind of came out all at once during the Cesarean Birth.”

She started moving my legs apart and putting her head in between my knees.

“I want to get back in! I want to go back!!!”

“I wish you could go back too honey, and I’m glad we’re here now.”

“I want to go back!! I want into MY belly!” she said louder and repeatedly as she moved towards me.

“What would you do if you could get back in?”

“Snuggle up and watch the world in glorious HD!”

We both laughed, and then she shifted her body again until she was in my arms and we snuggled. I held her in my arms just like I used to and we remembered then and made a memory now.

We were in contact and complete.

And then we did some math homework and left for school.

Watching my daughter grow reminds me daily that the world goes on, that nothing can stop the life force who is always magnifying herself. Being her mom is an endless gift. When I was her age, my mom was already gone. So for me, every day with her is a day to give and receive something I haven’t known. I get to see up close in real time what happens when self-esteem is not crushed by loss. Being eight with a mom was an unknown for me, but for her it is normal.

Her childhood is both normal and a childhood.

And that is the blessing, the answer to years of prayers and hard work.

I am so grateful.

 

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Also published on Medium.