My big girl ran out onto the soccer field yesterday looking grown-up-ish. I thought I’d been paying attention, but turns out not so much. Because now she’s big and I’m surprised. She went into the bathroom to change into soccer clothes and came out a different kid. I swear, this is how it happened. My heart broke a little bit. And also swelled with pride.
We’ve hit a sweet spot.
The little one is five now. She does stuff and she has ideas and play dates and her own plans. And she can play with her sister. Finally!! Someone said to me recently that if he could push pause right now he would. I thought I would too, but it turns out, I wouldn’t. I am enjoying this dynamic, exciting ride.
My job has changed. There is still all of the daily maintenance, but it’s not quite so intense. It’s not as physical. Also, I am no longer sleep deprived. I don’t miss the slog that was much of parenting in the early days. My job is no longer changing diapers, pureeing sweet potatoes, and setting up sensory tables in my living room.
This current job, the parenting of a big kid is more nuanced.
I help my girls navigate the waters of homework and soccer practices, tricky friendships, and kids that say mean things. My big girl is learning about politics and forming her own opinions about complicated topics. I love watching her think and learn and process! It’s a treat to see my work of the early, dark days of parenting start to pay off.
We have a mom/daughter book club (which, incidentally, I think you should start) and we talk about the complicated topics in the books we read. We watch movies together and giggle about the silly and embarrassing stuff. I don’t know where those little kid days went, but they’re gone and I’m embracing the new days. The days of tiny sports bras and period talk. The days of complicated geometry tests and novels.
I am not so naive as to think we will prance through the preteen and teenage years with ease. I hear those teenage meltdowns can equal a toddler meltdown any day. But right this minute, my big girl is killing it. She is rocking her own style the way a Portland girl should, she love’s Powell’s and soccer, and climbing and kindness and weird arm warmer glove things. She still loves playing, but she’s switching modes and sometimes she loves writing secret things in her diary and face-timing her friends.
I’m okay with this.