by Amy L. Hatch
Today, my darling daughter, you woke up a kindergartner and went to bed as a newly minted first-grader.
You chose the dress you wore for your graduation ceremony weeks ago. Showing unusual sartorial restraint, you left it hanging in your closet all those many days, each morning fingering the fabric and saying, “No, can’t wear this one, I’m saving it for graduation day.”
Today you donned it, in all its colorful, sequined glory. You brushed your own hair and chose a matching headband. You strapped on your dress shoes and shrugged into a bright pink cardigan, in case the air conditioning made the building chilly.
Some days, I look at you and I see a baby. I see your gummy, toothless smile and hear a deep belly laugh and then, before my eyes, you morph back into the 6-and-a-half year old you are today.
The time, it goes so fast, my love.
Standing there today in the theater, I heard you sing with the rest of your class. You wore a bathing cap for an elementary-school rendition of “Splish Splash,” a song you’d been practicing at home for weeks. You sang it everywhere — in the car, at the table and in the shower, all to the dismay of your little brother.
Until, that is, you convinced him to sing with you.
That’s how you are, my darling girl. Your enthusiasm is so catching, it’s hard not to join you in whatever passion it is you are pursuing, no matter what it might be.
When you were singing, I heard you so clearly. Your voice rang out with a clarity and purity of confidence that, for one brief moment, made me feel as if I am doing something right. What I want most for you, what I long for with every cell in my body, is that you will carry yourself through the rest of you life singing loud and clear for everyone to hear you.
In my heart, I know you will.
I’m writing this today so that I never forget the way you looked this morning or the feeling of you hugging me hard around the waist. I want to preserve the memory of today, which feels like a demarcation between baby and girl.
There are days when it feels like bedtime will never come. There are days when we fuss and fight, sigh and roll our eyes at one another. Sometimes, I’m not fair. Sometimes, I ask more of you than I should.
But when the light fades and the shadows creep in, we meet up in your room for a cuddle. No matter what kind of storms we may have weathered that day, we always end with a quiet talk and a hugandakiss, all one word, our mantra.
I’m so proud of you, my girl, and I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days bring for you.
Amy L. Hatch is a co-founder and editor of chambanamoms.com, and she also cries at weddings. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.