Eight years and one day ago my husband and I happily welcomed our Big Helper onto Earth. She came unexpectedly early, arriving on the heels of a snowstorm, a missing puppy, and a postponed first grade St. Patrick's Day party.
Thinking back to what life was like way back then, it feels like forever ago. I don't feel like that young teacher anymore, excitedly planning out the next step in my career and wondering how best to decorate our new-to-us house. Those things feel as if they happened in another lifetime.
As for my Big Helper, I'm not sure that I can remember what life was like without her. Oh, of course I remember facts and details, but they don't seem quite real somehow. Everything changed the minute she arrived.
Yet it doesn't feel as if it's been eight years. I can't possibly have been trying my hand at this parenting thing for eight years, for while eight is still (thankfully!) a child, it's coming dangerously close to ten, the preteen years - and then thirteen, the teenage ones, and then soon it will be driving and college searches. We're still celebrating firsts - but those first steps are preparing her to take those first steps away from home.
Receiving birthday wishes from my sister
Today she experienced a first - receiving her first rock CD, at her request (Audio Adrenaline, of course) - and bounced around like a princess at a ball. Every event of the day had her dancing with excitement, and while I was happy to see her so full of joy, it's hard to see her be so big.
In one of my favorite childhood books, Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke, the main character says something like, I wish that time had a tail, so's I could grab ahold and slow it down some.
Sometimes that's how I feel. I want to slow it down just a bit, or push a 'pause' button like Zach Morris did on Saved by the Bell, so that I can savor this moment before it's gone.
Soon it will be, and they'll never be this exact age or able to do this exact thing for the very first time ever again.
So while perhaps I don't sound very glad, I am: that time's not going by any faster. That she still has enough little girl in her to enjoy tea parties with friends and family dinners out. That a cupcake can still make her squeal with excitement, and being told that she has a phone call brings her running. I'm glad that she still wants to dress like a princess and eat chocolate cake and do art projects with her mommy. I'm glad that she wants to help other people and twirls in full skirts.
She may be my Big Helper, but she's still my little girl.
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