My beautiful Katie,
I see you, with your lean arms and legs, your big girl teeth and your chapter books and your baby rolls and sippy cups are but a distant memory.
You are seven.
And seven has been a rough age for us.
You push back in ways that you never have.
You offer your endless opinions on my every decision.
You are forever in a state of negotiating.
And at times this stage delights me because you are growing into your own person, questioning, reasoning, growing comfortable in the knowledge that you are you, not just an extension of me.
But if I’m honest, more often than not, you absolutely exhaust me and I welcome your bedtime for the chance to regroup.
I worry. A lot.
I worry that I’m failing you… that there are so many things I have yet to teach you.
As you walk out the door for school in the morning and leave your backpack sitting on the kitchen floor, I resolve to work harder to teach you to be more responsible.
When you’re hard on your brother after a long day and you use that voice… you know the one… I make a mental note to be more vigilant about catching you and guiding you to speak from a place of kindness, even when, especially when, it’s difficult.
When you glare at me when you’re unhappy with a decision I’ve made, I see you as an adult who struggles with authority.
I worry about everything.
And I think too much about how to help you grow into a well-adjusted, happy, thoughtful adult.
Daddy has been away on a business trip this week. While he’s been gone, you have slept in our bed, as you have done when he’s away since you were just a toddler.
Last night, I crawled into bed beside you, hours after I had tucked you in. I rolled over and placed my hand on your back as I leaned in to kiss your cheek goodnight.
And in that instant, as I felt my hand span the width of your entire tiny back, I was reminded that you are only seven.
In the ways that matter most, you are still a little girl. And if I keep seeing you as an adult, I suspect that I will spend the rest of my days wishing I had seen my little girl while she was still here with me.
You will grow up and go and perhaps there will be things I don’t get to teach you along the way.
But I won’t waste another day of now, worrying about then.
I love you, sweet Katie, and I promise that I will work on savoring you during every part of our journey.
With a heart that is forever learning,