I wrote this a few weeks ago, but never found the right way to finish it. After a sad milestone moment for my baby girl this week, I was able to finish my thoughts.
Tonight Cammie ate 7 hot wings and the rest of Chloe’s leftovers. She went to a playdate this afternoon where her best friend since Kindergarten talked about getting married someday and having three children together all while he pushed her on the swing. She will turn 8 in a month. I guess maybe that is why I let her splash in the rain puddles in the restaurant parking lot. I guess that is why the dirty floors and dusty furniture don’t bother me that much tonight. It’s also why I let her wear pajama pants to school this week.
Chloe has developed a love for music and singing, so we gave her a guitar for her 10th birthday. Along with the guitar, I passed down some of my special guitar picks. I remember holding one of these picks while my cousin showed me how to play a bar chord for the first time while on a family vacation when I was 15. In high school, I held a clear pink one between my nervous, shaking fingers while I played a song I wrote for a few boys in a garage – hoping they would let me into their band. (They did.) The following years of playing gigs and making music together are some of my happiest memories from adolescence. I used my favorite blue pick during college while playing guitar with my boyfriend at the time in a drafty room in an old loft apartment – the same room where he would take his last breaths just a few months later. Many cherished memories that seem like yesterday, only a little faded around the edges… like an old photograph. Clear and focused in the center, but dim and slightly blurry if you look too closely.
My fairy believing baby grew up too much over the weekend. She finally figured out that I was her tooth fairy. She sobbed and got upset. I’m not sure her melancholy was merely for the revelation of the non-existence of fairies, but I saw in her eyes a sadness in the understanding that she was growing up. It was hard seeing my 7 year-old facing the hard truths of life. Her lips quivered when she lamented that she wished she hadn’t found out until she was 18. I don’t know if I could have kept up with it that long, but I would have tried my best…because I’m a mama and I don’t want my girls to grow up just yet. I’m actually hanging on for dear life.
It was brutal being hit with the reality that we are passing through the elementary years at a frightening pace. I’m not ready for the “baby” and “little girl” years to be through. I had just gotten the hang of that part, now it is almost over and we are thrown head first into the shaky ground of tween angst and the beginnings of hormonal drama. I, too am sad for the reality of a home no longer enveloped in the certain type of magic and mystery that is only present when little children are living there. I will desperately miss the gleeful shouts upon discovering fairy dust and hand written notes left under pillows. I cried right along with her.
Sometimes I can’t breathe, it hurts so bad this stuff of being mortal, of growing up, and passing on. We are a quick blink in time, a tiny dot on the historical radar screen. We are all fading to specks of dust. Sorry for sounding like Debbie Downer, but thinking about this lately has made me even more determined to get well and live fully. I want to squeeze every ounce out of each day. Life is just so short.
I don’t know what those without the One True Hope do when thoughts of growing old take root in their brain, but I cannot fathom the darkness without knowing of His light. We have a beautiful life to live here, and an even better one waiting for us in the future…one that hopefully includes clouds you can eat, fairies, mermaids, and other magical creatures and of course, our beloved pets. I’m not an expert on heaven, but I’m almost certain these will be there simply because children exist.
In the meantime, I’m relishing the sweet parts of their childhood that are left because there are many more memories yet to be enjoyed. So, I’ll just be over here telling my girls to keep believing in fairies and unicorns and chasing down their childhood, begging it to stay.