Tiny little increments

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“Is it okay if I read tonight?” she said. Every evening in our house ends with a bedtime story. This evening, though, my child turned the world on its head, and read me a bedtime story.

She read beautifully, stumbling over only one word during the 30 pages of words and pictures. As she closed the book and turned to me, I told her of my pride and joy at listening to her read. I marveled over her skills and applauded her for starting to bring emotion into how she read.

She took my head in her hands, looked at me and said “Mom, that’s lovely. But I’m tired, so I’m going to bed. Could you stop talking?”

With that, she kissed me goodnight and trundled off to bed.

It’s that moment where I realised that I am, faster than I would like it, in the process of becoming obsolete. I am no longer the great and only teacher of life…I have become a mere advisor. Sooner than I would like, I’ll become a convenient cash vending machine and multi-tasking facilitator of sleep-overs.

It feels to me like someone hit the fast forward button whilst I was busy making dinner. My cherubic baby with her chubby arms became a little curly-haired girl dancing around the lounge in a ‘princess dress’…and now she’s talking about whether or not she’ll be in the netball team this year.

I realise it’s all happened, but the tiny little increments in which it does, seem to have all ganged up on me and arrived at my doorstep to announce, once and for all… that the little independent spirit I was so desperate to nurture, has begun to flourish, and it’s growing in spite of me now. Those days of progress are no longer highlighted as ‘big’ moments. They’re no longer the first day of school, the first time she walked, the first time she called me ‘mama’. They are the every day now – and those tiny little increments are getting bigger by the second.

I am filled with a strange mix of extreme pride and utter desolation. My baby is all grown, and in her place stands a tall, gangly and well-spoken girl who rides a bicycle without training wheels and kisses us goodbye at the school gate, not permitting us to walk her to the classroom. (Just so you know, I have never learnt how to ride a bicycle …she’s already outstripping me at the age of seven).

I used to chase her around the house, in a tag race of catch-up. I think I always be chasing her, desperately trying to catch up and just hold her for a second, before she outgrows my embrace.

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When did you notice your little one was growing up?
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