SEVENTEEN. I don’t know why but it sounds about a decade older than sixteen. Maybe because I feel like I was just seventeen. Or maybe because there are a lot of songs about being seventeen and one that even includes strawberry wine in the lyrics. Maybe it is because you are a year away from eighteen which seems completely impossible that you are that close to being an “adult.” I’m going to keep using the word “adult” in quotation marks because I am 41 years old and still constantly am looking for adults who are adultier than me that hold a lot more answers on such subjects as how to be better at adulting.
So you don’t have to have it all figured out, kid. Not even close.
But here’s the thing that you do need to know: you are by far one of the greatest joys of my life.
You have made my life infinitely greater. And you make this world better. You were born an older soul with maturity in spades which thank God because there are many days that I don’t know that I could have made it through without you. You were helping me hold babies when you were four years old and now you are helping me Uber those babies that are now twelve and fourteen. They look up to you and I am in awe every time I see them glancing your way for approval and a smile. You are the queen bee big sister and you wear the crown beautifully. They know too that we don’t unfortunately get to hold you in this home forever so we need to make it count while we can.
When you all were small, there were times that I of course wanted to pause the clock to take you all in. But there were also a great number of times where I wish I could fast forward the clock. Fast forward the tears and the sleeplessness and the meltdowns. Fast forward to bedtime. Fast forward to the weekend. Fast forward to the next stage, the next space, the next milestone. The comparison is that now all I want to do is slow down the time and stretch it for all its marvelous fleeting glory. But time never gets the memo. It is going faster than ever now. Please time let me have more of this brilliant, brave, stunning girl sitting on a yellow stool telling me about her day in the kitchen. Let me have these four kids together laughing for just a while longer in this space, at these ages. Let me just freeze it. I think that is why I am taking more pictures now because it is the best way to preserve what I am not ready to let go of.
But I guess that is the occupational hazardous side effect of parenting: kids grow up. And I just hope that I have done enough, taught you enough, loved you enough to give the roots and maybe even more importantly, the wings to go out there and share that magic of yours.
Proud doesn’t even begin to cut it. I am in awe of you dear baby girl of mine.
Here’s to you dancing queen. Thank you for teaching me more than I ever could hope for.
Keep owning the stage, no matter the size.