July 3, 2010

Now we are six.

Laura turned six a couple weeks ago, but since we were out of town at that time, she had a party with her friends this week. I'm a fan of stringing out birthdays and other celebrations. It usually means more cake.

She's not my kid but I totally get all the silly things grown-ups say.... she's growing up so fast! I can't believe she's six! I remember when she was just a baby!

Indeed. She was baby who did not like to be fiddled with. She loved the sound of running water. She was very, very willful. She ate lemons. She had to be rocked vigorously for about 30 minutes before being put down, and that usually resulted in me being very sweaty.

And now she's six. There's something absolutely heartbreaking about the possibility of forgetting her as a baby, and as a toddler, and as a little girl...but we get old and the business of life and the exhaustion of child-rearing chips away at our brains. And they get older, too, and lose their innocence and become independent and move on to have their own lives. The anxious part of me thinks it's totally reasonable to start preparing for that as soon as possible. I mean, like, as soon as they're born you begin reminding yourself that you don't own them; knowing that you'll spend years tending to them and then they will, in essence, leave you.

But that's the anxious part of me. The same part that nags when people aren't washing their hands and when I worry that I'm doing nothing important with my life. The truth is, I just can't tell the future or control the hygiene of everyone around me at all times. My God, I'll try, but still. I also can't say that my kids (or niece, or nephew, or anyone else) are my legacy, because I don't believe in putting that pressure on them - like I'm a wannabe pop star so I whore my child out to Disney.* Sure, I hope they do fantastic stuff. But if all they do is love their family, they have done something important, and I will have, too.

I hope I remember rocking them to sleep and teaching them to read and the total unapologetic way they run to me, but I might not, so I better just appreciate where they are while they're there, and hope I can revel in the people they become.

Things I love about being six:
we find no reason to believe you shouldn't get presents each time you see grandpa
we want to be helpful, and we are old enough to actually be helpful
we love freely
we dress up
we can handle being away from Mommy overnight
we sometimes use manners without having to be told
we dance

*I know it might be unpopular, and highly hypocritical because I grew up during the heyday that was The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King, but I'm not a big Disney fan for kids. So buying that Sleeping Beauty dress for Laura probably wasn't the pinnacle of my integrity.

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