I just returned from a reading conference in St. Louis. It was wonderful; challenging and inspiring with lots of good times with friends. Turns out, the nicer the hotel, the more they want to charge you for WiFi. Bummer.
Tonight is the last night Sloane will be 8. Like every year, I feel sad. I'll likely go sit beside her bed tonight and cry. It seems to me that parenting is just one long, long river of letting go. Eventually, I know, that river will lead to an ocean and she'll be gone. The thought breaks my heart.
Jeffrey would say that I'm borrowing sadness and to enjoy today, right now. And I will. But, still. I am already missing my little girl. I am already missing eight.
I miss those endlessly long legs and toe nails that always seem to be only half painted. I miss the surprising mixture of excellent conversation and Arthur videos. I miss a warm little body crawling in bed with us after a bad dream, and the way she pretends to still be asleep so we can wake her up. I miss first time roller-coaster rides and the way she used to fit on my lap. I miss silly knock-knock jokes that make no sense and me always being the one to mess up on the hand clapping games. I miss A to Z Mysteries and a bed full of stuffies that all end up on the floor by morning. I miss eight.
It's not gone yet, but I can feel it slipping away, becoming a precious memory. Like the smell of her just after her bath or the delighted gurgles after blowing on her belly. That long, long river rolls on and on. And so I cry a little and take lots of pictures. And try to write a few words that will capture what it felt like, just exactly now, when my sweet girl was 8.
And tomorrow? Tomorrow I'll be simply delighted to wake up my nine year old and enjoy another year with her. A year completely different and yet so much the same. A year full of laughing and loving and silliness and play. A year of love.
It's good to be Momma.
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