Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Short Season

"Childhood is a short season."
~Helen Hayes 

My earliest memories are from when I was 5 years old. 

I don't have any memories of carpet from when I started crawling or standing at the screen door in the evenings when I was two years old waiting patiently for my dad. 

No. Kindergarten is when my earliest concrete memories began and those are the memories that have stayed with me for almost 25 years. 

In kindergarten, I remember crying almost every. single. day. 

I remember the sticker chart where we were rewarded for memorizing our phone number, address, and birthday. 

I remember getting sent to the Principal's office after I kissed Matthew Crutchfield for the first time...on the back. 

I remember Jason Goodwin drooling on my desk at least once a week. I still have a phobia of spit to this day. 

I also remember how Mrs. Dulaney lead me to the Lord in the tiny down stairs office after my kindergarten teacher gave an extremely intimidating Bible study lesson on hell. 

I remember that the summer after kindergarten was when our favorite babysitter, Anna, started watching my sisters and I. 

I remember how much I adored her and how I would get up while it was still dark outside to sit on the couch and wait for her. 

I remember how awful my sisters and I were to her, but how she kept coming back year after year. 

I remember swimming in my Grandma's swimming pool and living in our swimming suits all summer long. I have no memories of real clothes or shoes or even actual baths. Just swim suits, bare feet, and shampooing our hair in the swimming pool each night. 

I remember the summer trips we always took with my mother, and how she'd brave our favorite theme park alone with only me, my sisters, and all of our cousins in tow. 

I remember the summer that the Disney movie Pocahontas came out, and how I spent the entire summer pretending that I was her by making forts in the woods and wearing the same green t-shirt and shorts almost every single day.  

I remember all of this and so much more. 

I had a great childhood free of hardship and heartache, and all of my memories are full of sweet innocence.

Unlike you, my darling daughter. 

No one asked me to make hard choices.

I didn't live in fear of disappointing one parent or the other.

I didn't have to watch my mom struggle with how to help me not to feel that way.

I didn't have to divide my time up between one parents house and the other. 

I didn't have to deal with different bedrooms, different toys, and different rules from one place to the next. 

I never had to tell my mom about how much easier my little life was when my parents were still together. 

I didn't cry when my dad picked me up on Sundays. 

I never felt like I was missing out on birthday parties or fun Sunday school activities. 

And unlike you, I got to go to my Grandma's house with the pool every single Sunday and I never knew what it was like to miss my cousins-my very best friends. 

And sometimes I wonder what childhood memories you will take with you? 

Will you remember all the hard things your daddy and I have asked you to go through? 

Will you remember all of your tears and fleeting moments at either place?

Will you remember the tremendous amount of pressure being put on you to grow up way too soon?

Will you?

Or will you also remember the way we loved you-fiercely-and how we fought to protect you the best we could? 

Will you remember the date nights with your daddy and the impromptu hotel stays we had together-just you and I? 

Will you remember how you loved to swim and how you had more pools to choose from than any of the other children you knew? 

Will you remember the first time you got flowers from a boy in your kindergarten class for your birthday?

Will you remember the Branson trips with Grandma Kelly and the summer you spent with your Noah?

Or will you remember the sleepovers with sweet Mya, because even I know you don't get to see her enough and the age gap just seems to be getting wider and wider with you two?

I wonder often about these things, my sweet girl. 

I want nothing more than for your childhood to be a happy one, and for the good memories to outweigh the bad.

Which is why I have fought so hard for your childhood and I will continue to fight for your childhood, because I know the world around you will make you grow up soon enough and all that will be left of your fleeting moment in childhood will be your memories.

So that's why I don't care that you still ask for my help sometimes, or that you still find your way to my bed when your scared.

Because I know that someday you won't ask me to read just one more book to you and that pajama parties and our "fancy" dinners where we dress up like princesses will be the last thing on your mind.

I know that eventually your American Girl dolls and all your beloved stuffed animals will take a back seat to your phone, your car, and your friends.

I know that there will come a day when you won't ask for girl nights with me and that I will someday spend my evenings without you while I wait for you to come home from dates and the movies with your friends.

I know all of this.

And I accept all of this.

But, for now, I want you to be 6 years old.

Just 6.

Whatever that looks like to you.

No matter how silly it may seem to them or how many times they may tell me that I need to let you grow up and that I need to treat you like a "big girl".

I hope you remember how I never listened.

Not one time.

Because when you're with me, I just let you be the child that some of them keep forgetting you still are.

And I know.

Trust me, I know. 

I know good and well that you will grow up far before you and I are ready for you too.

But I'm thankful that isn't today.

And I'm trusting it won't be tomorrow either. 

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