Friday, May 15, 2009

Graduation day and such

There's a physical disconnect that occurs around the time a child turns four. They no longer need the rocking a newborn requires, the toting a non-walking infant demands, the coddling a toddler desires or even the reassuring babying a three-year-old craves. Four brings a bit of independence that's more sincere than the "I do it" desires a two-year-old projects.

Self reliance seems to become more real at four. The "I can stir it by myself" quip becomes a demonstrated skill while baking. And when she leaves the house with her little pink sequined purse, it returns home all in her own doing.

It's the age of "Mom, how do you spell (fill in the blank here)." She keeps a journal, after all. The age of selecting her own clothes for the day, and asking if dad has the "ability" and "availability" to doctor the blister on her heel.

And while hugs are highlights here and there, and sleepy eyes may predict tears and the need for a few sways in the rocking chair on my lap to overcome a bump in her day, the time she requires my holding her is merely a fraction of what it once was.

There's so much to do and see and play and learn. There are her own "babies" to take care of, the lessons she must teach the younger kids while pretending to be Miss Mandy and the small chores around the house that she undertakes at no one's request. All this leaves less time for holding.

In place of this lost physical contact, however, has grown the very best friend a mom could wish for. Someone who asks "Mom, are you okay?" if I grow quiet. Someone who sees the disappointment in my face when she's done something wrong. Someone who runs to hug me when she's done something great, and revels in her own power when she's done something so incredibly wonderful that it brings tears to my eyes.

As I've realized time and time again in this raising children gig, she's growing up. But at this juncture, it's not just up that she's growing. It's out and in and down too. Her self-esteem is now glaringly visible, her intelligence is overwhelmingly present and her creativity is relentless in its need for nurturing. She's a person all on her own. Separate.

So on this graduation-from-four-year-old preschool day, while she becomes less and less a part of me physically, she grows closer and closer to my heart as her own person. Alena, you make me happy, you make me proud ... I love you.

No comments: