Lots of parents say “I don’t want her to grow up, I want her to stay small forever”, and usually that doesn’t resonate with me at all.
I love watching you grow up and seeing the changes that happen almost daily. But then, out of nowhere, I had a pang of sadness that you wouldn’t be my tiny girl forever.
Daddy and I tried to take you to the park but you fell asleep in the car on the way. We had a coffee while you slept soundly next to the ice-creams, and everyone that came in commented on how peaceful and Adorable you are. You finally woke 20 mins before we had to leave, hungry and a bit disorientated. Watching you sitting on the climbing frame in a just-woken-up daze, eating crisps and watching the other children, at first I felt guilty for not going out earlier so you had enough time to play. But when it came time to leave, before you’d had a chance to play on anything or even finish your crisps, you jumped up and down with excitement at the idea of walking to the car with mummy and daddy.
You didn’t mind that you hadn’t gone on the swings or the slide or the roundabout. You were just as excited to run alongside daddy, keeping up with his long strides, and jumping over cracks in the pavement, and carefully picking out crisps to share with me.
As daddy handed you the car keys and sent you off a short way ahead to try and find our car, you skipped off with joyful purpose.
And that’s when it hit me.
At that moment I wanted you to stay small. I wanted you to retain that wonder and excitement at the little things, to be content playing with me and not with stuff. I wanted you to stay scoopable and not so big that I can’t swing you around and make you shriek with joy and unstoppable giggles. I wanted your needs to stay simple, and your beautiful rosy cheeks to stay fat and squishy.
Every day I’m astounded by how clever and capable you are, and I know that you’re going to be an amazing grown up. So, despite that moment leaving the park the other day, I don’t really want you to stay small.
I want you to grow strong and healthy and confident, and be all that you want to be. I’m excited about being there when you set your goals and work hard to smash them, and watching you learn about the world and all it has to offer you. Of course part of me wants to shield you from all harm and failures and heartbreak, but I know that’s impossible, so instead I want to stand by you through it all and give you the tools to find opportunities in mistakes, lessons in failure, and to hold the pieces together when your heart is broken.
I loved you when you were brand new, I loved you when you learned to sit up on your own, I loved you when you said your first sentence and when you climbed the stairs on your own, and I love you now and every day that passes. I love every stage of you and don’t mourn the last as you move to the next.
You’re doing what you’re supposed to do. You’re growing up. And I’m proud of you every day.