Bug is 8 years old and has taught me more in that time than I learned in the entire 29 years I lived before I knew her. And I’m not even referring to all that I learned through her birth and our stint in the NICU. (https://ficklefragments.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/the-back-story/)
I’ve learned much about myself too. When she was a baby I would hear all the time, “Wait until she hits the ‘terrible twos’,” and “The ‘terrible twos’ are nothing compared to the ‘terrible threes’,” and so on. But I LOVED her toddlerhood. Every age was my favorite, until the next age.
For a while, I taught a class at church. It had kids from 4 to 8 in it. (Including Bug.) The younger ones were easy. But I struggled terribly with the 7 and 8 year olds. Prior to this, I had spent eight years teaching kids at church, aged from 11 to 18. Some were easier than others, but I generally loved it.
I have a confession to make. Apparently the 7 to 11 year age range is not one that I handle well. It’s different when it’s my own kid of course, but it’s still such an awkward time! And I didn’t expect it to be. Surely MY daughter would never hit that awkward phase. Surely she would never develop any annoying habits like those I saw in other children.
But I find myself dismissing her too often.
I catch myself correcting her all the time, without giving her a chance to correct herself.
I regret the missed opportunities to spend time with her when she asks me to play and I’m too “busy.”
I notice that I don’t pay as much attention to her as I should, because my child who is known for being quiet at school, never stops talking at home. And I’m realizing that those are all annoying habits OF MY OWN.
She IS at an awkward age, and it is bound to get worse before it gets better. But I, of all people, should be her number one cheerleader, her number one sounding board, her number one supporter, and her number one encourager.
And I am going to be all of those things. Sometimes we moms just need a moment to step back and get a little perspective. This week I’ve been handed a whole lot of it.