Once again, like every year before for almost a decade now, our advent celebrations have been put on pause as we take a few days out to remember another special birthday this month. My beautiful girl, Sophia, is turning eight. And like every year that has gone before, I find myself thinking, how can it have been this long already?! It feels like a lifetime ago that her arrival drew me crashing into the wonderful and maddening journey that is motherhood. Simultaneously though, it feels like just yesterday that I took a tiny bundle of delicious babyness home for our first Christmas at home. I still remember Dan slaving away all day making a delicious roast dinner and me crying in frustration when Sophia woke up needing her nappy changed and feeding just as he announced it was ready to eat.
Time is a funny thing, it doesn’t move in a consistent manner, rather dragging out minutes for what feels like eternity and then seemingly skipping whole months in the blink of an eye. Memories are similarly erratic, some moments are etched permanently in vivid technicolour where others blur into a hazy recollection of feelings and sensations that can’t quite be caught onto and remembered, always just out of reach.
This year, I’m marveling at just how grown up my eldest child seems. The transition seemed more profound this year than it has for the last few years. She is independent (or wants to be!) and a little sassy, she is capable of holding an interesting and reasoned conversation with you, she is turning into quite a serious soul and seems wise beyond her years, a marked departure from the toddler who was always sunny and bouncing. She thinks a lot, is fiercely loyal and caring, always wanting to make sure that those she loves are OK. But then when she’s tired, my little girl reappears in a silly grumpy declaration, in a desire to be babied, to be treated as an equal with her younger brothers rather than having to always wear the hat of being the eldest.
Like parents everywhere, I worry that I’ve expected too much from her as the oldest one, that I’ve had unreasonable standards and have been too hard on her. I think I probably have been, which makes me sad. I want her to remember having the freedom to be young and childlike for as long as she wants, I want her to remember having fun with me, laughing and being silly.
This year as we celebrate another year around the sun for our beautiful girl, I am making a commitment to having more fun and to being less serious. I am marveling at how amazing she is (despite my flawed parenting!) and counting my blessings again at being allowed to have her in my life. Happy birthday dearest Sophia, my gorgeous gorgeous girl. We love you and hope that being 8 is simply, quite great!