We are officially there.
She's no longer an infant. Not a toddler (whew, thank goodness!). Long ago graduated from preschool.
Still several years away from the tween years. The teenage stage seems distant (although I try not to look at it staring at me from the horizon!).
Sophie is smack dab in the middle of the loveliest stage of childhood. THIS is why we have children. It is golden and delicious and I don't ever want it to end.
Yes, of course, it has its heartbreaking moments. Like when she let Clara carry her stuffed animals in a store and she said, "Well, I'm seven now....I can't walk around with stuffed animals." Or when she looked up at me from her bed one night and said, "Mommy, you won't need to read to me anymore....I can read myself now." Other parents might celebrate that moment.....but my whole existence for the past several years has been about reading to my daughter in bed at night. That's just WHAT I DO. I celebrate her reading abilities and her desire for privacy to devour the world of books. But I will always want to read to her. So we compromised and she agreed that I could still read a book or two TO HER several nights a week!
But then there's this: She'll still hold my hand when we walk home from the bus in the afternoon. Sometimes she'll even run off the bus and jump on me....in front of other people!!! And she told me last night, on a Saturday night, that she was disappointed she didn't have any homework. What did I do? I made some up so we could work on it together. Last week she asked if she could do Math at school instead of recess. WHAT? For a couple of weeks she requested that she and I go to breakfast alone one weekend.....and when we finally got to, she asked for bagels....and while we were eating those bagels, she said, "Mom, I love eating breakfast alone with you." Sophie still thinks it's super cool that I'm her Girl Scout leader. When she recently told me that her favorite day of the week is Thursday, she explained that it's because I work in her school library on Thursdays and we get to walk in to school together. She tells me pretty regularly that I am the best Mom ever and that she's lucky to have me. My heart overflows.
Those first years were long. Some were really hard (her entire third year for example!). But I now experience the payoff every single day. Sophie is just so, so lovely. She's creative and interesting. When she wants to be, she's as sweet and joyful as a doughnut with pink frosting and sprinkles. I think most people would qualify her as a really happy child and she laughs a LOT. Her teacher says hearing Sophie's laugh is one of the bright spots in her day. Mine too, I always tell her. Most of the time, she's sweet to Clara and I hear Sophie teaching her little sister all kinds of things.....little things, big things, silly things, important things. I'm not a rookie Mom anymore and I know all these childhood moments are fleeting. I don't intend to miss any of them. I eat them up in my own beastie way.
I LOVE nothing more than being in Sophie's presence. She constantly makes me smile and laugh and feel good.
Sophie Annabelle, you are such a gift and I treasure you with every tiny little ounce of my being.