never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
When I picked Adeline up from school the other day, she gave me the typical report and then proceeded to express interest in listening to Katy Perry and making a date for us to have a manicure. We of course sing “Roar” on a regular basis and love pink polish, but there was something about hearing that little voice in the back of the car, chatting with me like a gal pal, that made we wonder after my little girl. As fun as it is to see her growing up, I’m also struggling a little with the changes that seem to come with “seven.” I was never a big advocate of “the princess” (the whole sit around and wait for your prince to come scenario) and yet after having a little girl walk around my house for years in a tutu and a tiara, I now miss having a princess within these walls. And then there were the stories! The nights when all she wanted was for Kevin or I to make up an adventurous story before bed. She loved the silly details and would giggle behind a stuffed animal until we could calm her down to sleep. Now she reads independently before bed and turns out her own light! It’s not that I don’t want her to grow up. I do! It’s just that I don’t want her to lose any of her sparkling enthusiasm or her deep connection to the world around her. The voice that told me at four: “I think God is still making me.” And at five, after running into the ocean: “This feels like the color of me.” I guess you could say that I recently became aware that Adeline is maturing at a rapid speed, and I’ve been trying to catch my breath.
A few nights ago, Kevin walked into the kitchen looking totally emotional, having just tucked Adeline into bed. He explained that he was hugging her goodnight when she said, “Daddy, tell me a story.”
“Sure. Let me think…” he responded, slightly out of story-telling practice.
“How about something romantic?” Adeline suggested.
This is not a word we knew was in her vocabulary, and Kevin stuttered, “What do you mean by romantic?”
She said rather shyly, “Something beautiful and magical.”
Kevin wiped the panic off his face and thought for a long moment, trying to come up with a story that would be just right.
Finally Adeline said, “It’s ok, Daddy. That’s probably not your style.”
Funny how well our children know us! But Kevin was not going to let her down. So he told her a story about our family riding horses down to a beautiful lake. “That had magical fresh-water dolphins,” Adeline had added toward the end.
After hearing about Kevin’s moment with Adeline, I left him (still captivated in the kitchen) to go kiss Adeline goodnight. She hugged me hard and then said, “Please let Daddy know that I really liked his story.”
If only I could have told her how much it meant to him. I wanted to say: Thank you for your tender heart. For reminding us (late on a Thursday night) of the romance, the beauty and magic, in an ordinary day. But instead I just kissed her nose and said, “Night night baby girl.”
It is quite a challenging thing to raise children. There are countless decisions to make, patience is fully required, time and energy is poured into nourishing their bodies, their minds, and assuring their wellbeing. But perhaps even more mystifying is how to effectively nourish their souls. I have been hoping that Adeline holds fast to that thoughtful, imaginative spark that seems to glow inside her. But I’d be crazy to think that it would ever fade out—that’s a part of who she is. The only thing I can do is help it mature, like the rest of her.
I am raising a romantic soul. A girl not too unlike myself. And as much as she may love the occasional Katy Perry song (who doesn’t?), I can only hope that deep down she’ll always be singing, “This feels like the color of me!”