Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon is here today and I adore what she has to share with you. It’s something I believe so firmly and she’s written it so beautifully. Enjoy!
The morning weather is starting to cool and, as kids head to back school, this comment starts flying.
“They’ve gotten so big.”
We begin to see familiar faces at drop-off and first day of school photos popping up on Facebook. Today my friend’s daughter started full-time preschool. As a mom, this is a huge milestone. She has greeted the week with mixed emotions.
As parents, we have a tendency to try and hold on to “our babies.” I admit, when an adorable toddler photo flashes by on my computer screensaver, I sometimes pause and think about how big my two girls are… When did my baby turn into a fourth grader?!?
Yet, this summer I realized something really important. It stemmed from a conversation with my mother-in-law. We were on our annual family vacation, when she looked out at the girls fishing and sighed.
Your girls have changed.
Their Nana has always adored them, so the tone of her voice caught me off guard. I didn’t know quite how to response, so I just sat quietly and looked out to the lake. She continued…
Maybe you can’t see it because you’re with them every day, but they’re different.
There was a longing in her voice. I could tell she was daydreaming of previous vacations and of younger versions of the girls.
I smiled and replied, “Yes, they are both getting really tall.”
We both knew she wasn’t talking about their height, but I couldn’t handle the sadness in her voice. As I rehashed the conversation in my head, I started to feel slightly defensive. Here’s the thing, my girls (who are currently eight and nine) are awesome kids.
Every single day their personalities shift slightly and they grow into themselves. I watch my daughter’s sense of humor blossom. I am awed by the determination and will they have to succeed. Quite suddenly my response shifted to sadness… it is so important not to get too caught up in the past when you have a child blossoming right in front of your eyes.
Perhaps I needed this conversation to snap me out of the “they’re getting so big” mentality and bring me to the present moment to truly appreciate my girls. I know my mother-in-law never meant to imply anything poor about my ladies, but the truth is… when we get too caught in the past and long for a different version of someone, it can take away from the beauty of the person currently in front of us.
So, I sympathized with my friend on the phone. I listened as she spoke about her daughter’s first day of preschool and let her know I get it. I understand that feeling… but then we chatted for a few moments about what an amazing kid her daughter is turning out to be. We talked about all the different things she’ll learn this year and how she is excited to see her daughter grow into her spirited personality.
I love this quote from Maria Montessori…
“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”
I look forward to continuing to get to know my older girls and hope to to embrace each new stage of childhood as it arises. As you send your little one to school this week, smile at the past, but don’t get lost in it. Be here now and love the person they’ve become.
Zina Harrington is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments.