Once I had a little girl. She was my first child, a bright-eyed, curly-haired bundle of personality and spunk. She was sweet, creative, and had a gift for making me smile when I didn’t feel like smiling. She loved bows and big pink dresses and sparkly shoes of all sorts.
Before too many years had passed, she began to outgrow the big dresses and the princesses. She remained the bright, creative, kind and beautiful child she had always been, but her tastes were changing. She wanted to look more grown up. All of the fun we had had shopping for the fluffiest dress in the store was fading fast. Suddenly, everything I loved was what she felt was too baby-ish. And, for a little while I honestly felt like my heart would break.
Not because I didn’t like the more grown up styles or because I didn’t think she was adorable in them. But, because I was letting go of another little string that connected me to that baby girl that I was so enamored with.
Even though I was wildly in love with this new, older version of Adelade, it was difficult, to say the least. Actually, it was excruciating. It was heart-shattering. Just the growing up. One reason that a mother will break down on a Wednesday afternoon, thinking about all the time that has already passed.
And, I probably would’ve just wallowed in my ache for several years if it weren’t for a certain little blessing that God tossed in my lap a few years ago. Honestly, something about the birth of Emerald was like salve on my wounds. It didn’t change the fact that I was in a sort of mourning period for Adelade’s littleness. Nor did it make things easy that were really hard, like learning to be a mother to three. But, something about knowing that I would be able to do princesses and poofy dresses again just helped me deal with the pain of time’s never-ending march forward.
Now Emerald is a bows and pink dresses kind of gal. And, Adelade is an adorable skinny jeans and chapter books sort of little lady. And, sweet Sawyer is the spiky-haired cool-kid-comedian. Each and every phase is breath-takingly beautiful.
And, each phase grows away eventually.
For now, I think I’ll just enjoy the hot pink sequins and the twirly skirts. And, someday when Emerald begins looking squint-eyed at the ruffles and bows, when she inches instead toward the smart black dresses and the plain flats, I’ll offer to curl her hair and I’ll tell her she is beautiful. Because she will be. Adelade has taught me to love where we are instead of pining for where we’ve been.
And, one of the miracles of motherhood is that even when they are all taller than I am, standing in my kitchen in the clothes they bought with their own money, telling me about all of the latest goings-on in their grown up lives, I suspect that when I look at them I will still see the freckle-faced blondes that I fell in love with so many years ago.
Every phase is a gift.
Emerald’s hot pink sequins and twirly skirt dress was provided by Sara’s Fashion. They have all sort of beautiful dresses for the ruffle and bow types in your life. Please check out their website for flower girl or holiday dresses.