We blinked, and time catapulted us to this place where our daughter is suddenly ten. Ten!
I expected to be a blubbering ball of nostalgia when my youngest child hit double digits, wounded by a sentimental arrow to the heart. But it didn’t happen. Sure, I miss the adorableness that was toddlerhood… but that phase of life was exhausting. The only time we got a moment to breathe was when our little whirlwinds of energy collapsed into a slumber:
Those younger days were fiercely special. A simple walk to the park was like opening a can of magic; it’s a joy to watch a child discover this big beautiful world. But I’m not going to pretend it was always easy, or even fun. Remember car seats? Or traveling with toddlers? I used to have panic attacks in airport security lines, wondering how I was going to get the stroller loaded onto the conveyor belt without dropping the diaper bag, baby, or boarding passes. These days travel is easier. The kids carry their own boarding pass – it’s called an iPad. They don’t need my help packing their suitcases, let alone carrying them. And all that baby paraphernalia? It’s nothing more than a phantom limb.
It’s easy to forget the challenging moments, and romanticize the memories. But every phase of childhood is unique, and pining for the past only means missing out on the present.
And right now, Maggie is ten. She packs her own lunchbox, builds epic marble mazes, and likes horses more than boys. She daydreams – a lot. She spends allowance on others before herself, and fastens her own seat belt. She owns a diary, but whispers secrets to the dog instead. She chops veggies with sharp knives and scrambles eggs for family breakfasts. She loves slumber parties, but is just as content playing alone in the alders around our home. Her favorite books are myths and her favorite toy is a wooden barn filled with miniature animals. She doesn’t believe in best friends, because calling one friend the best might hurt another’s feelings. She is something special.
She is ten, and ten is transition.
Ten is losing baby teeth, but no longer believing in the fairy.
Ten is holding your mother’s hand one minute, and rolling your eyes the next.
Ten is loving your stuffed animals, yet leaving them behind when you go to camp.
Ten means dresses are out, and soccer cleats are in.
She is ten, and ten astronomical.
Ten is an eclipse.
A total eclipse of my heart.
Someday all too soon, ten won’t seem so big any more.
We’ll blink again, and she’ll be in high school. Then college. Who knows after that.
But for today, she is ten.
And ten is a gift.