She made a rainbow bigger than herself on Saturday. Before that, she pressed one into form with her fingers. Then, I found one made of wax. My girl is leaving rainbows behind and my inner seven-year old is fully enjoying it. However, as mother I am starting to see them in a new way.
In 1982 when I was seven, I was busy scrawling secret handwritten notes to my parents asking for a puppy. I would leave them in their dresser drawers and by spring I had my puppy. She was a toy poodle named Pickles who lived long enough to go to sophomore year of college with me. I remember feeling secure and happy with friends and family that year, but I also have memories of feeling anxious and something called self-criticism sneaking in.
According to the books about developmental stages by Louise Bates Ames, she describes this as the age of introspection. "Seven-year-olds feel picked on by family, friends, and teachers alike; they worry that no one likes them; they expect every little task to prove too difficult to handle; tears come easily at this age."
Which basically describes my girl on point right now. Although I dislike some of what is written in Ames's books, I do feel comforted by most of her words. Especially during mornings like today, when my daughter has so many tears, everything is too hard and "no one likes me." I realize she is in the thick of a developmental stage and I can't fix it. These are the times when she quietly asks to take a class at the neighborhood studio, Seattle Mosaic Arts, and I am quick to say, "Yes!"
Trying my best not to direct her or get in the way, I was her assistant reaching the jars of tiles on the higher shelves and finding all the glittery ones. I watched in amazement as she used all the tools with confidence and made exactly what she wanted. This was a task she could handle with ease. There was only deep concentration.
It's times like this when I see her as the beautifully complicated being that she is, that she has always been. I think of myself at that age and have more sympathy. Next month, she'll announce quite proudly that she is seven and a half (which according to Ames's books the half ages bring with them some discord and unrest.) Being seven has as much colorful harmony as it does tears and anxiety; therefore, the rainbows my sweet girl leaves behind remind me again that it's all fleeting. Be gentle and appreciate it.