Saturday, June 04, 2016

Aging and Eight Year-Olds

Ella will turn 8 at the end of this month. Eight. Eight years feels like a lifetime ago. Time is so tricky that way. I remember things from before we had kids and think "Oh, that was just a couple of years ago" and then I remember that my first born is about to be 8. It really is true that time passes more quickly as you get older. How does it do that?

I turned 35 in December and I'm finding it very weird. I know 35 is the new 25 or whatever, but I feel strangely suspended between old and young. I'm not really either, but kind of both at the same time. Am I young enough to wear shorts with a 3.5 inch inseam? Probably not. (I do it anyway. It's hot, yo, and my husband likes them.). Am I old enough to be this intolerant of nonsense? Probably not. (The directness of my manner just gets more direct with age. I might be downright unbearable if I make it to 80.) Maybe 35 is the midlife version the pre-teen years.

Whatevs, man. I'm old/young and my daughter is venturing into 'tweendom - depending on whichever made up source you read that defines life stages. Don't even get me started on the whole Millenial/Gen X/Gen Y nonsense. I think "tween" replaces "pre-teen" now but with a few extra years on the front side? I don't know why we need a new term for a perfectly good one. See "intolerant of nonsense" and "direct manner" above. Also, I may be turning into my father. 

She is an amazing kid. I say that with complete humility. I don't know how she got that way. I don't really consider that a credit to myself or my superb parenting skills. She has been a challenge to me since she looked directly into my eyes and sized me up minutes after she was born. I was still lying half-naked on the operating table being put back together and she was bundled like a burrito and had just been screaming her head off until they put her in my arms. I just stared into those knowing eyes until the nurse told me to kiss her. I mean, is that normal? I know the wide open, wise, old eyes in a newborn aren't but does the maternity nurse usually have to tell a mother to kiss her newborn? We're strange birds, she and I. 

No, her amazing-ness is more a testament to God and all the prayers I've said/cried/screamed over her. I would have jacked it up royally without Him. Parenting is hard. It shines a light into all your broken places and makes you do something about them. Eight years in and I still wonder every day if I'm screwing up. I still pray what I prayed when she was 4 days old, incessantly screaming in the middle of the night while I cried in desperation, "Please God, don't let me screw her up." 

At almost-8, she reads voraciously, devouring 300 page books in a few days, and she always has a book. I love it so much. She has taken piano for two years, and though I often have to harass her into practicing, she says she loves it. She still plays soccer, and watching her transform into a beast on the field satisfies some kind of animal instinct in me. Though she is often prickly at home, she is kind and considerate of others. She keeps her room a hot mess, but she is also very creative and creativity usually doesn't have time for organization. I'm hoping it learns, but hey only another decade and she'll be keeping her messy space somewhere else. 

Only another decade. We have a lot of ground to cover in a decade. Tricky, tricky time. 

Please God, don't let me screw it up.

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