I am feeling especially maudlin lately. I took L back-to-school shopping last week and barely made it through dry-eyed. Isn't it weird when suddenly you can't just zip into Target and pick out clothes simply based on their age and a rough estimate of their weight? For the first time she had to try everything on. Some size 5 things fit, some didn't. Her feet have gone up almost a whole size since the spring and she's grown a full inch taller since Memorial Day. Hard data aside, she just looks different. Her chubby cheeks are gone, replaced by a slimmer, more angular, less "cute" and more "stunningly beautiful" (I say with a complete lack of bias) face. Her body has stretched, revealing long, athletic legs. I've turned all of her jeans into cut-offs because they were all so ridiculously short.
Thank goodness not everything changes at once. My amazing L still has her same vibrant imagination and highly entertaining personality. She loves robots, and is currently saving her allowance up to purchase a robot who will do all her chores for her (clever girl). She went to Lego camp and was the only girl. She had a blast (building robots, of course). She still has a few words she regularly mispronounces ("callerpitter" is my favorite) and I'm desperately hoping she won't learn the correct pronunciation anytime soon because that will mean she is really growing up on me. She is full-on reading now, but would much rather be creating elaborate scenarios with her animal figures, often involving lots of Kung Fu. She equally thrills and exhausts me with her wit, stubbornness, and capacity for absolute joy. Not a day goes by that she doesn't, at least once, suddenly hug me tight and murmur, "I love you, Mom". It's as though, in that moment, she is so overcome with love she has to drop everything and EXPRESS it. I love that about her. How many of us DON'T say what we're feeling when we feel it and miss out on an opportunity to tell a family member or friend how much we love them?
Right now L is asleep next to me in my bed. Her face is peaceful and there are tiny shadows of the baby she was (not so long ago, if you ask me). Her arms are splayed out and she's secure and content. I can easily see the tiny 8-month, 12-pound baby that slept in my arms the entire way home from Ethiopia back in 2008. Soon she'll wake up and start chattering about becoming a rock & roll drummer/robotics engineer and my tiny baby girl will be gone until tomorrow's nap time.
When did she get to be a beauty?