On Saturday my baby girl turned 8-years-old. If you have any kids or nieces and nephews I don’t need to tell you how quickly time flies when children are involved. For me I don’t see my aging every day-it hits me every once in awhile when I see a few more wrinkles in the mirror or it takes me a little longer to recover from a late night or hard workout. For my kids, though, it seems every morning when they wake groggy eyed and puffy I’m taken aback with just how much they’ve grown in the 8 hours we’ve been sleeping.
Dailah especially. I think part of it has to be that when she was born prematurely I spent every waking moment watching her, memorizing every little thing. It startles the senses to watch the birthmark that started no bigger than the eraser of a pencil become the size of a quarter as her skin stretches to hold in her growing body.
For her birthday she wanted only her best friend to stay the night. Even though that friend got a little homesick and wasn’t able to stay, Dailah rolled with it-asking instead to sleep on the floor of my room (Zach and I don’t really let our kids in our room. They don’t get to play there, they don’t sleep there-nothing. Being parents to 5 kids means we have to carve out sanctuary wherever we can-it works for us.) She’s pretty great at going with the flow, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how grateful I am for that.
Hard to put into words how different life became 8 years ago when this firecracker came into our lives. She’s equal parts free spirit and loyal companion.
If there’s a baby around she wants to be holding him/her. Very few things frustrate her more than when babies grow too old to be carried on her hip constantly.
I’ve learned so much from her about delighting in the every day. About embracing and celebrating the smallest things: tater tot day at camp, catching frogs and sparklers for instance.
I admit to feeling the most pressure in raising her. I see her constantly watching me. Dailah thinks the sun rises and sets with Zach, it’s true, but she’s learning the most from me. How to be a woman, how to express your feelings when friends let you down, how to care and nurture a marriage. Dailah is relentless in her pursuit of information, I love that about her.
It is not easy being the only girl in the family. More often than not if she wants to play with someone she has to do whatever it is they are doing. Once in awhile she can talk them into doing something she wants to be doing-usually that’s a jumping contest off the dock. Dailah usually wins when they account for style and animation.
Happy birthday my strong baby girl. May you continue to show the world exactly who you are. Love you.