When she left for school yesterday, she was five years old. When I picked her up, she was almost eleven. For some reason, I have frozen my children at certain ages in my mind. She was always a 5 year old. My son, who is 9, will forever be three. My baby, who will be 5 in July, is always a toddler. My brain knows and understands their real ages, but my heart has not caught up to my brain yet.
Yesterday, as I watched her run towards me, with her back-pack slung casually over her shoulder, my heart stopped for a nano second and my breath caught in my throat. I was, for a few seconds, overwhelemed and stunned that she had become a young woman in a matter of hours. My heart and my eyes finally acknowledged what my brain knew all along...she is gowing up.
I stared at her and hugged her and told her she was beautiful, right there in the middle of the school parking lot with tears in my eyes. Right there in the middle of all her friends. She hugged me right back and didn't let go until I did.
As I drove them to our favorite ice cream shop, I could not stop staring at her through the rear view mirror. I still could not process when and how this had happened. My heart was running a marathon, still trying to catch up with what my eyes were seeing. As we ate our ice cream, I snapped this picture with my phone so I would not forget the day I suddenly realized she was growing:
I still cannot stop looking at it. This morning, I thought I had accepted the fact that she is no longer 5. Then she bounded down the stairs, full of life and ready for her day, and stopped right in front of me. Being just a few inches shy of being the same height as me, she pats the tops of my head and says "Good Morning my pretty little mama"....I do not think my heart will ever catch up.