Seven.Seven years. That is how old my oldest will turn this month. How did that happen? When did she grow up? It has gone by WAY too fast. Now she is three years away from being ten. Eleven years away from being eighteen!! How can I slow this time down?

The answer? I can’t. So now I am stuck with the realization that the child who made me a mother is starting to no longer be a “child.” Thankfully, she isn’t embarrassed by me yet. She still enjoys hugs and wants me to tuck her in to bed. She still thinks my jokes are funny and loves sharing her day with me. But for how much longer?!

The other day we were watching Annie. It was a particularly emotional part of the movie (the one where the foster dad has to give Annie back to her “parents”). I asked her for a hug and wanted to cuddle. After a minute she said, “Mom, can you let go now?” WHAT!!!!! No, I cannot let you go now. No, I don’t want you to grow up. I want you to be able to sit in my lap forever.

Seven.But she can’t. She has to grow up. And with each year she grows older, we get to experience the ups and downs that come with her growing up and being independent. And that is okay. It’s hard. But it is okay. In one of my favorite Grey’s Anatomy episodes, one of the doctors says to a co-worker who is talking about her son not needing to hold her hand to walk into daycare: “What happens when they let go of your hand? They come back.”

Of course she has promised me that she does not want to go to college or get married because that means she would have to leave her dad and me. But even when she is ready to leave, she will always come back. She will always love me. I will always be her mommy. And while she may not always want to sit on my lap or hold my hand, she will always be my daughter.

So, happiest birthday, T. You are a beautiful, caring, bright little girl who is growing up to be a wonderful person. You aren’t afraid to stand out in the crowd, and we love that about you. My birthday wish for you is to keep growing up, but please don’t ever change who you are.



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