“They grow up so fast, don’t they?” I hear that from just about everyone I come in contact with who asks about my daughters. And I know they’re right because just yesterday they were 4 and 1, and the most I was worried about was a temper tantrum because the binky got dirty, or the cat was lying on the doll baby, or dinner included strained peas and strained peas were definitely OUT. But that wasn’t yesterday — not even close — and I would give just about anything to go back to those problems.
Because these are definitely parasol days, the days of posturing for posturing’s sake, of being a girl without being too girly, and of discovering more about who their adult selves will be. And those adult selves are not as far away as I thought they were, or as I’d like them to be. Each day I’m reminded of it, if not by the calendar days going by then by the things they do and say that constantly amaze me.
“Daddy, I want a baby,” Lexi told me out of the blue one day, and I did a double-take to make sure I had heard my 8-year old correctly. It was quickly cleared up, though, when she showed me a catalog with American Girl doll “babies” prominently featured. Still more girl than young lady, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Maddie stood on the porch twirling her umbrella on another day, and she was doing it in perfect rhythm. I looked at her under the rim of the umbrella and I swear I saw her as a teenager coming in from the rain to shake that parasol out and complain about the bottom of her jeans getting wet. My little girl, but not so little anymore.
And I see it in their clothes too, these swiftly approaching parasol days, when I’m doing laundry and I’m flummoxed at a pair of jeans that couldn’t possibly fit anyone in this house. But they do, and they’re Lexi’s, and they are hung up on adult hangers instead of the toddler ones we’ve used for all of her life. Until now. Then there’s Maddie’s pajamas that look way too long when I fold them up, but that barely fit her once they’re on. She’s not this big. It can’t be true. They grow up so fast, don’t they?
Those are the times, when I’ve realized just how big they’re getting, when they remind me that it’s still a while away when they throw a fit, or when they want to just snuggle up on the couch to watch a movie, or when they run around like the wind during play dates, secure in their innocence, and that makes me smile. Because too soon it will be over, and these memories will be all that remain.