My biggest girl is eight. She is growing before my eyes, morphing into a new form of personhood that feels suddenly foreign. Her mannerisms, her sense of humor, her enjoyment of making faces in the mirror–they are typical, but new. Typical of someone who is eight. New to me, although I suppose that once upon a time, I was a very similar eight-year-old, morphing into someone new.
She will never be little again. To say that it doesn’t hurt would be untruthful. The other day I decided that I am going to try my darndest to make the best of this, without holding her back, without getting too nostalgic. Be in the moment.
Mia and I started a new tradition of choosing a book to read together at bedtime. Only she and I will read the book together; not daddy, not by herself. It is ours. Our club.
When we’ve finished a book, we write an inscription in the cover so we always know when we read it. We will save the pile of books and she will soon have a collection of memories and good books that she may one day read to her children.
I have always read to Mia, but not so deliberately.
Doing things deliberately makes them special. Doing things ritually and with pleasure makes them sacred.
We are on our 3rd book tonight, Miracles on Maple Hill. We tried out a few pages of Huckleberry Finn, Roald Dahl’s Matilda, and the American Girls series before landing on Miracles on Maple Hill. That one was just right.
Our first book was Charlotte’s Web, our second, The Hundred Dresses. Charlotte’s Web is one of my favorite books of all time. It is beautiful.
Our Mama and Mia book club is a blissful end to the day. Truly. It is a chance for us to snuggle, be still, and connect. It keeps me in touch with the new person she is becoming. It lets her know that with all the changes that are still to come, I will still be here: beside her all the way.