My firstborn is nine. She is simultaneously hanging on to little-girlhood and feeling the pull of tweendom. She wants to take goofy selfies with me, but she doesn’t want me to post them for the world to see. (I only do so with her permission.) We have sweet cuddles and meaningful conversations; we have unexplained tears and closed doors.
Some days I think, I am killing it at parenting!
Some days I think, Parenting is going to kill me!
I’ve never been the mom of a 9-year-old before. All of her firsts are mine too.
We decided to do a big-girl date and see a production of the Disney musical Newsies at a small theatre. I’ve loved the movie since seeing it for the first time as a middle-schooler—but would she love it too? Would the music be too loud? Our seats too close? Would she get bored between musical numbers (hey, it happens to me sometimes)?
With the exception of the announcement before the show started alerting the audience of the use of haze in the production (she thought that meant there would be fire), she did love it. It wasn’t too loud, we weren’t too close, and she was captivated from start to finish, leaning over to whisper things like, “He must have practiced a lot to be able to do that backflip!”; covering her mouth to giggle when the main characters unexpectedly kissed; and reading all of the cast bios, nose in her program, during intermission.
This kid. She’s incredibly special. There are moments I look her in the eyes and can pinpoint exactly what she’s thinking or feeling. I see bits of myself in her and remember what it was like to be a 9-year-old girl, and I just know. I can’t explain it.
Other times (like when we’re plodding through long-division homework and she’s weeping and I’m summoning help from the heavens), I don’t know what to do and wonder at how someone I carried in my own body can also be a stranger.
She is not me. But I’ve been given the gift of getting to know her every day.
We have inside jokes and secret ways to tell each other, “I love you.” We have “our song.” And now we have Newsies.
31 days of paying attention is a month-long mission to document and give thanks for the everyday, mundane, and beautiful. It’s a series I’m writing for Write 31 Days, a yearly challenge in which bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October. Thanks for reading along!
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