Even though growing up is a slow process, she sometimes wants us to believe she is already there.. I hear almost every day that she would be responsible with an iPod touch, she’s ready for her own phone, she thinks she should stay up later, she wants unlimited time on the computer, she needs new clothes.
She’s blooming with ideas of how to be independent, and ways to think for herself.
For Christmas, I didn’t want to insult the budding teenager within her by giving her toys. So I got her a more grown up gift – some cowboy boots just like her big sister was getting. I thought sure she would be pleased that I recognized her “adult-ness”.
But I was wrong. There was no delight or joy in her eyes when she opened her gift. There was no sparkle. It wasn’t a fun gift. It just was. After all, how long can you admire boots before you get bored?
Her preteen mind starting scrambling back to the nether world of childhood.
And then I witnessed a war in her being. A war between wanting to take on the heaviness of adulthood and wanting to remain free and childlike. All that day and into the next she debated about returning her gift. She lamented that she liked the boots, but she wanted something to play with instead of just wear.
I felt like I had stolen time from her. Deep down, my heart yearned for her to trade in those boring boots and be a kid for one more year.
Finally, I told her that I could tell she didn’t love the boots, and I wanted her to love her gift. I wanted her to be delighted and find joy. So she made the decision to return the boots.
And she picked out five beautiful toy horses from Tractor Supply.
Oh the bliss.
She spent the rest of the afternoon beaming while building a corral out of popsicle sticks, naming her horses, making a stable out of a cardboard box, exclaiming “I am so crafty!” and “She just looks like a Penelope, doesn’t she?” and “I want to marry a farmer some day!”
Living out her dream of owning horses right there at the kitchen table.
Being so child-like.
I saw her free from the burden of encroaching adolescence for the time being.
And my heart was so happy that for just a little while longer, my little girl is content to be just that – little.