I had the privilege yesterday of watching our 11 year old stand in front of a couple hundred of her peers and tell the Spots the Tortoise story.
Our nine year old sat with me in the crowd. Taking pictures, giving thumbs up and being her biggest fan.
It wasn’t a conscious thought, but I realized something yesterday. After the questions and the book signings.
I see parents of younger children, me included, spend a ton of time saying things like:
• If only we could freeze time
• I wish they were this little forever
• I hate that they’re growing up so fast
• Ugh, not looking forward to the teenage years
• But they’re so innocent right now
All true feelings and well intentions. But the glorification of the baby years, the years where we feel like we control almost all of their lives, is a sad game to play.
Sure, I’ll miss the ten and under years, I’ve loved them for sure. But days like yesterday make me realize how much fun every single year can be, not just the younger years.
As I observed Kamden hold court and Addi cheer her on, there was nowhere else in the world I would have rather been. They are young ladies now. With their own dreams, their own feelings, their own stories.
It hit me that as much as I want to freeze time, our older kids are entering new territory for us. A more uncertain time to be certain as we’re dealing with far more emotional things now than physical ones. More heart stuff than buckling into seat belt stuff.
The evidence of this new season, the one where they have developed thoughts and developing bodies, was clearly on display as Kamden asked each of the three groups she presented to if they had any questions. Arms raised high before she could blink.
“What do you want to do when you grow up?” – 4th grader. “Well I’m not exactly sure. But I do know that I want to live on a ranch with a bunch of horses. And I want to write lots of books.” – Our soon to be 6th grader.
“Were you mad at your parents when they made so many edits to your book?” – 5th grader. “Yeah, I was at first. But each round of changes we made, made the book that much better. Finally we got it perfect.”
“Are you surprised at how big of a deal your book is now?” – 3rd grader. “Yeah of course. I hope my story can be an inspiration to you. Keep chasing your dreams.”
Maybe my favorite one came from a sweet little 4th grade girl. “Do you love adventures?” “Oh yes. Yes I do,” Kamden said.
It’s tempting to hold tight to these little years, the ones we feel slipping through our fingers. I tried to do that for a long time, but no matter how tight I grasp, my efforts fail.
Days like yesterday remind me that instead, my best plan would be to open my hands wide and walk alongside these not-so-little-anymore ones.
As they enter their own adventures.