Why I wouldn't turn back time
I have lots of friends with kids who are younger that our daughter, now 8. I am often asked if I miss the baby/toddler/preschool years. The truth is this: Yes, there are moments when I long to hold my freshly minted newborn, all snuggles and coos and neediness. I think back fondly to the days when she was just learning to talk, saying things like "libbing roon" for "living room" and "I do it myself, Mama" as independence bloomed. I go back in time in my mind quite often, but would I want to rewind to those days in reality, given the chance? Not really.
I am so grateful for the days that we have had, all of the stages we have gone through, all of the memories we made along the way. But now, today, with our little family of three with our 8-year-old, things are so good, our days are filled with so much love and laughter and a strong bond, that I cannot imagine going back to a time before today.
Here's what I love about being mommy to an 8 year old girl:
She needs me, but not for everything
I love the fact that, at any moment, she will crawl up into my lap, pull a blanket over us, and say "I just need a snuggle, Mama." I will always and forever make time for that. Always. But when she is thirsty or hungry, she doesn't always need me to get those things for her. She can (and wants to) get her own snacks and pour her own drinks. Also, she is a very early riser and my husband and I, although not night owls either, prefer to get up at a more "respectable" hour (around 7:30am as opposed to her 6am). Now that she is older, she doesn't need us to get up with her, and she's fine with it. She's an introvert and she has told me more than once that she likes that morning time to herself before the rest of the family wakes up. We will often wake up to find her watching a movie, drawing, reading, or inventing some sort of elaborate game all on her own. The best part? Her face still lights up when she sees us come down the stairs in the morning, just like it did when she would peek up over those crib rails and bellow for us to come rescue her. <3
She is my sidekick
At least for now, my daughter actually likes spending time with me. We have a weekly Girls' Night, on which daddy goes out with the guys and we stay home, cook something yummy (often Indian food, which we love but daddy doesn't like at all), watch movies, play games, have a dance party in the kitchen -- whatever we are inspired to do! It's my favourite night of the week and I know she looks forward to it, too. Instead of our relationship being based on me taking care of her (which I still love to do, don't get me wrong) it is now based on spending time together doing things we mutually love.
She is her own person
I know, mothers of tween girls and teenage girls are probably thinking "What, are you CRAZY?? Their attitudes are NOT a good thing." But hear me out. Yes, there are times when I get a little more attitude or a few more rolled eyes than I would necessarily love, but for me it's a small trade-off. She is generally a really easygoing, lovely girl, and I love that she is at the stage of life where she has her own passions, interests, opinions, viewpoints and ways of looking at the world. She amazes me every day with the things she does, says, thinks, prefers, doesn't like, etc. I just love it!
I can't wait to see what comes next
Each day, it seems she grows a little, learns something new, finds a new passion, acquires a new skill -- and I cannot wait to see what is around the corner. This school year, for example, her reading skills have really advanced and, as a result, so has her passion for reading. (Read more about our journey with a reluctant reader here).
So yes, those early days of nursing, tummy time, first words, first steps and so many changes were lovely. Life changing. Memories I will hold in my heart forever. But I don't want to spend too much time pining away for days gone by, as today is pretty great, too. I am so blessed to be able to be her Mama, and our bond grows deeper every day. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Not even for a time machine.