These days we are hip deep in the process of
moving from childhood into that next stage
of being... well, not quite teen, definitely
not adult, but more than just child. This has been
true of Sweet G for some time, but even for
Little e, this is the new reality.
We are no longer a family that can be bundled
up into a car and swept off at the whim of the
adults. When my girls were smaller, we could,
and did, do that. Babies and small children are,
despite the endless luggage, portable. Their
schedules are based on things that move with us;
naps and feedings, playtime and quiet time.
In the stages were are visiting now, 9 and 12,
we are not as mobile. The schedules include
things like homework and afterschool activities,
and then there are the four competing social calendars.
Being close to these girls is not just showing up
to smile, snuggle, and play. They have become
complex creatures that need full attention,
conversation, respect, and continuity. In short,
they are no longer cute little creatures with
simple needs, but beautiful, complex people.
The work of being close with them is not
the work of changing diapers, feeding,
and playing, it is the work of being in a more
equal relationship. The easy gloss of cuteness might
be gone, and what is left behind can be prickly at
times, but it is worth the effort to cultivate.
Isn't this the point of raising a child?
Having any sort of relationship requires work,
why would anyone expect less of a child who is
Personally, I love this growth.
I like the deeper relationship with the listening
and understanding it requires. The inside jokes,
the complex stories, the moments of being
together quietly. The ability to be in a room,
working on separate projects, but still spending
time together. But most of all, I love those moments
when one of my girls sees what I need, instead of
My girls grow and change, and yet remain
as they have always been.
Little is still a whirlwind of affection and action,
who wants to touch you to know you are there.
Sweet G still needs her alone time to gather
her thoughts and arrange her energies.
She is protective of this need for space, but the
wonderful, witty person who emerges is well worth
the wait. It is interesting to me to see who
among the people in our lives are drawn to the
easy, silly energy of Little e, and who is willing
to wait for Sweet G to come to them.