23 Aug 2014
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She's Going Into 5th

Why must we ever leave elementary school?

She's Going Into 5th

Time stops for no one. It keeps going whether we're ready or not.

Well... I'M NOT!

How can it be that my baby girl is starting her last year of elementary school tomorrow morning? And, more important, WHY?

I'm already having nightmares about the big bad world of middle school. Lockers, different classrooms, getting lost on campus, sex, drugs, bullies!

NOOO!

Why can't she stay a child forever? Why can't any of us?

The truth is childhood is a very brief period of time in our lives. It goes so fast. If you're not paying attention you could miss it.

I'm happy to say I have not missed my daughter's. I have been there to see the crawl turn to a walk turn to a run. The babble turn to words turn to songs. The scribbles turn to letters turn to poetry.

I have seen it all, heard it all, taken pictures, videos and mental movies of it all. And my only hope is that as she gets older and may, at times, drift away from who she was, I can be there to remind her. 

Remind her that she loves painting and storytelling, animals and flowers, music and swimming, snow and family, laughter and snuggles.

Remind her that her childhood is always in her. Always. And, as her mom, I have done all I can to protect it.

So, as we shop for back to school clothes and I see her shoe size grow and her pants get longer I can't help but close my eyes and whisper to myself,

"Take this in. All of it. The voice, the freckles, the braces, the hand holding mine. Hold it. Kiss it. Remember it. Cherish it. This is her childhood. All hers. I'm merely the invited one to watch over it."

Watch I shall. Watch, share, participate, guide, shield, encourage, support, celebrate.

As I come to the end of this column I discover to my surprise that childhood, in fact, is not brief at all.

Childhood, my friends, just might be the one thing we carry with us through our entire lifetime.

I think I'll go out and let mine play.

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