Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Growing Pains

Our little family is in the process of a whole lot of positive changes right now. New house next week, new baby in the fall, and on top of that, a new (much better) schedule for my husband just took effect. Yet a time so exciting in my eyes is turning into an unnerving time in the eyes of my four year old. When our second child was born, our first was only two, so in a sense, this whole "new baby" thing is a new concept to her. I have moved many times in my life, and I see the 1200 sq ft upgrade as a great, never look back, type of opportunity for us. She sees it as a loss, as she is letting go of the only home she's ever known. To top it off, Daddy being home in the evenings 7 days a week, while positive for me, is a major schedule change for her. New bedtime routine, new attention distribution, and new structure of discipline.

And in the midst of all of these happenings, I have, until now, not recognized the biggest change thus far in her life -

she is growing up.

Silly as it sounds, my girl is growing up and the realization is hitting me hard. No, she's not into makeup yet, and no, she isn't learning to drive, but for the first time, I realize that the "baby" stage is behind us. We (accidentally) found out we were having a boy last week, story for another day. Rather than pitching a fit over her disappointment, she tried gracefully as possible to hide her tears from me. She is attempting to handle spats with her little brother, rather than insta-whining the moment he drives his truck over her perfectly arranged Barbie city. She wants to pick out her own clothes "for real", do her own hair, and no longer allows me into a public bathroom with her (only a mother can understand how this feels!). She is more self aware, easily embarrassed, and processes every word I say, even when I think she's not listening.

And the hardest change so far - she is withdrawing. Or more like, retreating. She wants to play alone, for hours. Her brother is not invited to her tea parties anymore, she wants space from Mommy, and she focuses on what she wants to focus on, no matter how much I would like her to just sit down and color with me.

Now, I understand that this is just the first of many changes we will go through with her. She will eventually be an adolescent, teenager, and adult. I also understand that those years are still years off. But for the first time truly, I have begun to think about my role in her life, looking toward the future. I am no longer here to just keep her safe and entertained, my purpose as her mother is to speak life into her, prepare her, discipline her as Christ leads me, and to be intentional with the time I am given. These are sensitive years, she is crushed so easily, and yet for the first time in her life, I have to treat her differently than her brother, simply due to age and therefore, expectation.

I probably sound like I'm half crazy, or maybe a little over emotional, but I'm sure any of you who have children older than toddlers understand where I am coming from. It is a sad transition, yet a wonderful opportunity, to have this responsibility and time as her mother. A heritage from the Lord. He trusts me with His baby girl, and I pray that He continues to equip me for the next stage in her sweet life.

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