My girl turns seven this week and I am reminded of a strange birthday phenomenon. A couple of years back, as she ran past me all legs and arms, I noticed for the first time that all of her chubby baby-ness was gone from her limbs. She was not a toddler anymore, It seemed to have all faded away right in that moment, on her birthday. I felt a shift in my consciousness, a sense that it's over. Although it's never linear, there's a feeling that a certain part of parenting her is now gone and we're moving onto the next thing. That is exactly what has been happening this week. There are some very clear signs of seven-ness that are becoming apparent.
Usually my girl stays close to me and knows where I am at all times. She does not want me out of her sight for long. Which I assumed to be the typical course of things this weekend, while apple picking at a local farm. Little did I know, she had grown up. My son and I went inside to pay for our fruit, while she stayed to play outside. When we came out, she was no where to be found. I assumed she and the other little girl, who's mom worked at the farm, had taken off to play. I look out beyond the expanse of the orchard.
Soon, I saw the two girls running toward me gleefully yelling, "Hey, she's almost seven too!" My daughter had met a new friend and had run with her as far away from me as she could into the depths of the orchard and back. Watching her long legs bounding through the grass like a giraffe, I was filled with pride. Just like when she was a baby with a new tooth, or taking those first precious wobbly steps, I was puffed up with Mama happiness that she had hit a new developmental stage. She could instantly do that very kid-like thing: make a new friend, run off to play and come back to me without a shred of anxiety. It was her first time doing this and I couldn't help but notice. It's a silent type of observing. Not the same as when her front teeth fall out or her first day of school. Only I took note of it, because I am her Mom.
On the eve of her birthday party, I took this picture and realized that she had planned the majority of it. I was the chauffeur as she described which stores sell pinatas, and I drove. She asked for bouquets from her friends instead of gifts because she wanted the house filled with flowers. She added rainbows to the horse theme, and I went to bed that night noticing that the combination was quite elegant.
As referred to in Waldorf education; she's been making a transformation in the last year, "seeking a safe place to test out her newfound need to push boundaries, while the parents trust that they truly understand the child in order to meet them." All of a sudden, this means I relate more to information about parenting adolescents and less about small children. Which feels like she's closer to the teen she will be than the baby she once was. That is what I have been seeing more of these days. Although she still cuddles against me every morning and often needs me like a toddler, I am facing her birthday feeling taken-aback by all this growing up that seems to be happening just this week.