I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Mommy. Mommy. Wake up.”
I slowly opened my eyes. It was so dark I could barely see her slim shadow.
“What’s the matter, honey? Do you have to go to the bathroom?”
“No. I had a bad dream. Can I sleep with you?”
In response, I scooted over, and lifted the covered for her to climb in. As she folded into the crook of my body I realized I couldn’t remember the last time she came in our room in the middle of the night.
These days are fading…
9. Nine. NINE.
The age 9 feels like a milestone to me. It doesn’t have the official significance of 10’s entering double digits, or 13’s being a teenager, or even 16’s being able to get a driver’s license. To me, nine is monumental.
It signifies that she’s halfway done. I’m halfway done. We’re halfway done.
This part of our journey together is halfway done.
She’s halfway to adulthood.
In those early weeks after she was born I remember looking at her while she cried or slept in my arms (the only place she’d sleep) and I remember feeling bored. She didn’t do anything. She didn’t smile. She didn’t talk. She didn’t play. She didn’t hold things. She cried and ate and dirtied diapers and that was about all she was capable of.
I waited for time to pass by. I begged for her to be able to smile and laugh. For her to be able to sit and crawl. To play and sleep through the night.
I prayed for her to grow. I couldn’t wait for her to be able to walk and for her to be big enough to forward face in a car seat. I waited for her to potty train and excitedly looked forward to her starting school.
What in the world was I thinking?
I spent so much time wishing moments would pass.
There were bad moments and good moments.
The bad moments were hard and full of frustration and tears (from both of us). They were full of trial and error. I had no clue what I was doing and I swear every time she looked at me, she knew it. She sees THROUGH me. She sees through the homemade cookies to the mom who struggles to not give her kids too many treats. She sees through to the mom who is trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
She’s always looking at me to see if I am constant.
Which is hard to do, you know? Because as much as I sometimes feel like I have it all together, this kid makes me feel like it’s a crap shoot and I just got lucky.
The good moments were amazing. They were full of pride and wonder. They were full of disbelief because I didn’t know how great parenting could really be. I am awed by the way she depends on me. The way she never wavers in her faith of me. She trusts me. I am her safe place.
There are so many things I want and need to teach and show her in the next 9 years. I don’t have any idea how I’ll get it all in. Now I pray for time to slow down. This is the time when I can wait for these next milestones.
Logically, I know we’re not halfway done. Our journey will hopefully have 55 more years.
But realistically, I know we’re already more than halfway done raising her. She’s already forming her own opinions and preferences. She’s independent and capable. She can cook, make her own lunch, and clean the bathroom. If I’m going to raise a child who turns into a successful adult, I need to make sure she’s ready for adulthood before it arrives.
She and I have been on this journey together for 9 years. I’d like to think that I teach her more than she teaches me, but I know that’s not true. This sweet girl is the one who made me a mommy 9 years ago. She taught me to speak up for myself and showed me how strong I really could be. She gave me a reason to fight against postpartum depression. She’s the epitome of kindness. I’d like to think that every ounce of her goodness comes from me but the truth is every day she makes ME want to be a better and kinder person.
I hope I never forget that while she grew under my heart, she also grew in it. She made it bigger than I ever imagined it could be.
Her door creaked as I entered the room. I tapped her on the shoulder.
She slowly opened her eyes and tried to focus on my face. “What, Mommy?”
“Do you want to come sleep with me?” I asked.
She nodded and slowly got out of bed and followed me down the hall.
I’m not quite ready to let go of this part yet.
Pin this to save it for later!