Clare turns 7 tomorrow.
I just read this short but lovely piece by Melissa Harris-Perry and her daughter Parker, and can't help but think about how closely this describes my feelings, too, as I watch Clare growing.
It's such a strange thing to see her, tall and strong and fearless, running or riding her bike or swinging from the rigged up bedsheet hanging off her bunk bed like Tarzan, and think, that little body used to fit in my lap--in my arms--in my womb. She's all legs and pointy elbows now, even if she does still have the rounded tummy of a little kid, and her sweet baby face looks completely different with her new, still overlarge front teeth.
She's learned a lot this year, my first grader. She's discovered that she loves reading after all, and that she's really great at math. She's had a revolving door of BFFs and even talked about her first crush though I think that was probably just the result of peer pressure and our unfortunate cultural inability to handle cross-gender friendships. She loves dancing and making up her own melodies on the piano. She loves the backyard, except for the mosquitoes, and digging for worms--the bigger and fatter and slimier the better. Yesterday she found a really good one, and announced proudly, "LOOK! It just pooped in my hand!"
She's an attentive big sister; sometimes too attentive, and I find myself repeating "give Zadie her own space, please" altogether too often. And yet Z shadows her every move with her own clumsy toddler version of whatever Sissy is doing, and her favorite time of day is 3:15pm, when we hop into the car to pick up Clare from school.
Sometimes I look at her and see the baby she used to be. Last night, after finishing our chapter in The Hobbit, I looked at her and saw the lovely, lively, intense and, I pray, still completely fearless woman she'll be. I don't know if she'll grow up to be the astronaut dirty-ologist theologian mother who takes her children with her to live on the moon that she's currently planning to be, but I do know, whatever it is she does, it will be magnificent.