We all seem to be holding on to each other a little tighter lately. Mckenna is so thrilled to be growing up and doing all these big girl things. She is reading so well now and often reads magazines to her siblings, with great pride in her voice. Occasionally we let her walk herself to school. She gets the mail (one house away) alone, and gets to go to plays with Grandma Gail. We trust her more and more and have given her more and more responsibility. But she is also looking back on her littler years and there is longing there. She is sad she misses out on being home while she is at school. She asks to be carried or swung around in ways she is just too big for. She is very sad that she is too big to ride in the car shopping carts at the mall. There are those little things in her that cry out to stay little once in a while.
Gabriel is proud of each accomplishment he makes. When his little cousins were all here and Mckenna was at school, he puffed his little chest up and told us all that he is the oldest and must take care of the little ones. He is doing well in writing his letters and has just begun learning to read. When he gets a word right he celebrates! He takes karate with older kids and tells people how he can keep up with the big kids. And he is gaining independence too. He dresses himself every morning, pours his own cereal and gets his own apples. Thankfully he is still a snuggle bug and loves to curl up with mom or dad and get some good cuddle time. He loves to play with action figures and could "pretend' with them all day long. He is walking that line between little kid and school age.
Juliana has been "three" since she was one. She has always acted older than she is. She has personality to boot, which comes with attitude and flair, and is not afraid to use her charm. Her newest phrase in her ever developing vocabulary is, "Not yet."
As in, "Juliana, it's time to get dressed."
Or, "Jules did you clean up your shoes?"
In reality it is her sneaky way of saying "no" without saying it. She so desperately wants to do what the big kids do, but still drinks out of a sippy cup. She paints, plays tag, and puts on shows with her big siblings, and still wakes up wanting to cuddle at night sometimes. She too is walking the line, of toddlerhood to little kid.
And I am torn.
I want them to grow up. Mckenna has shown me that each phase of childhood is wonderful and we joyfully anticipate and celebrate the milestones. But babyhood, and toddler world are familiar to me. And I have loved these years. It's not like I have a choice. The calendar pages flip faster than I can X the days, and as they grow in stature and develop their God-given personalities, I do all I can to stop, sit, listen and enjoy. So we play, we laugh, we put down the dirty dishes to dance; we run, we swim, we tackle and tickle; we explore, we create, we cherish the moment. For I know all to well the moments are gone in a hurry.