You are eight.
I can't believe, truly, the speed these years are going by. I know I am preoccupied by your crawling getting into everything little brother but I remember that day, like it was just a moment ago, holding you for the first time, eyes squinting open, carefully taking in the world around you. Your first coos, your giggles, your screeching noises.
How are you eight years old already?
And yet, I see you, getting so tall, tossing your hair, wearing your little skater jacket and hat. So confident in yourself, and yet so unsure (me too, kiddo, me too.) You have joy, outrage, and incredible empathy tumbling out of you at any moment. You see things now, understanding more and more of the world around you. Taking in the hurt and injustice, in such volume that it hurts you in return, You want to reach out, to everyone around you and take away the sadness. And I want to keep you from seeing it. Oh, 8! This age of grappling and reckoning, then retreating back into the escape of imagination and play. But I see you, peeking out, the woman you will be, the friend. And I am excited to know you then.
But for now. Slow down, 8. Climb trees with your friends, who happen to be boys, and don't mind who teases you. Wear skater hats, toss your hair. Have opinions. Maybe shriek them a little less though, k? Cry. Tears are good, they bring out the hurt and wash away the depth of feeling you carry in your slim little frame. Look at the world with fresh hopeful eyes. Knowing its all possible for you. No road yet blocked off. Anything, truly. Dream. Dream big. Believe in yourself. Even when you are wrong or make a mistake. Admit your mistake. Believe you can do better. Then go do it.
And I will be here.
Slip your hand in mine when you want to walk together. Pull me into a hug when you need it. I won't let go till you do, it's my promise to you. Tell your stories, your heartaches. I am listening, truly.
Just slow down. A little bit. Let the magic of childhood seep into your bones for a few more years yet. The rest will wait. For now, stay my girl a bit longer. Mama loves you.