It is Like a Day, Says Grampa John- by Annita Woz

check-your-cleats-feetI tucked my big little girl into bed tonight.  I asked if her day was long or short, she replied, long. I asked if she had a good day, she replied, good. I asked if she enjoyed the movie she saw with a friend, she said, uh- it was okay.

I pulled the covers up to her chin and took a minute to sit down beside her. She had asked me to tuck her in, something that she kind of gave up when she turned ten- with the excitement of staying up late and all. Dad and I, glad to have a night of togetherness, welcomed her independence and her ability to go up the stairs, and get into bed without the routine, no to the tuck in, no need for the send-off to the night.

We kiss her good night now and up she goes; the girl who can set her own alarm, do her homework in her own room, get dressed by herself also knows how to make her night work and takes pride in staying up later than the other kids. She catches up on some computer time, takes a moment to watch a big girl show, gets an extra cuddle on the couch with mom and dad and then off to bed she goes.

It was yesterday when she was a tiny girl, arriving a few weeks earlier than expected, a teensy thing, with spindly legs, and a neck that could hardly hold her beautiful head. She cried the first few months. Colic.  We know now. I spent the time holding her on my chest in the rocker and gave her to dad to hold her in the rocker some more when he came home from his long day. She seems to never be sick now,  never a sad day, always a happy face. Somehow she has purged all the grumpy unhappy,  unhealthiness, likely from fighting so hard those first few weeks.

Our girl was a wonder from day one. People would meet her and remark that she was an old soul, tell us that there was something special about her, remind us that she had some childhood magic to spread around, congratulate us that we had a pretty special girl as our firstborn.

I did not know what to say to those comments.

I knew no different, had no comparisons. Like a mom who’s first born are twins, I did not know life any other way, could not imagine it being any harder nor easier.

And here she is.  All grown, all long hair flying, all green eyes shining. She is the best of both of us, my husband’s analytical self, my creative self. She is reserved but giggly when over tired. She is cautious with her hugs, but once secure, loves with her whole heart. She is quiet, but can be listening when we don’t think she is. Serious, but playful, she is a magical blend of the both of us.

Her limbs are growing now, practically as tall as I am, she can still gracefully turn a cartwheel. She has graduated out of her glasses, her braces and her little body all in one swoop. She has training bras, feet that have to be fitted into her vision of ugly adult style shoes and will stop short of taking stuffed animals into her school. She is clueless on boys and still gets red in the face when we ask for boyfriend’s names, but she has friends of both genders, holds her own against a team of boys her math brain and competitive drive.

She has a dad who loves her. A mom who stops short of telling her with every new experience, that she could be an engineer, an artist, a doctor, when I see her interested in so many things I don’t want to limit her like life does.

Grampa John told me many years ago, at her first birthday party,  “It is like a day. One day they are in white getting baptized, the next day they are walking down the aisle. That is how quickly they grow up. ”

I don’t want to miss it, don’t want to rush it, but cannot help myself in my imagination. I see her doing so many things, but know that when she does them, I will be grayer and older.

My life is over as hers is beginning. It is all about our children, no longer about us, an awareness of reality that begins from the first day they arrive and claim our best parts.  It is a transition from our self centered selves, a release of our own goals and dreams, a realization that we are done.

My girl can put herself to sleep at night, but sometimes, she asks to be tucked in. We practically race to be included in her routine. As quickly as we gave up the responsibility to have to put her to bed, we just as quickly miss the opportunity to be a part of the end of her day.

I sat on the side of her bed, tucked the covers under her chin, adjusted the night light, the pillow, made myself busy. I took a minute to tell her I loved her. She grinned and in a baby voice she said she loved me, too. I hugged her not once, or twice, but several times and took a minute to remind myself that I was so blessed to have been given the opportunity to learn about myself, through my own child. I would not have known I missed this, had I not allowed myself to get caught up in the baby making.

I did not know that it didn’t matter that I didn’t have a thing to share with a child- that child had plenty to share with and teach me.

I am always learning, Annita Woz.

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2 Responses

  1. An absolutely beautiful entry. It brought me back thinking about my daughter and me. There was one night I put her to bed a little girl and literally the next morning she walked down the stairs as a young lady. I remember staring at her as a chill ran through me. Did the transformation really happen over night?
    The answer- yes and no
    Enjoy every minute, my friend.

  2. Your such an amazing writer! I love you lots!

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