It’s been a little over two years since I wrote this to you; about you.
A lot can change in two years.
A girl can change in two years.
Don’t get me wrong, you’re still my sweet thing, dancing and singing and always creating. The indigo eyes and the easy grin, the head shake in the middle of your brothers’ shenanigans. But you’re growing. You’ve gotten bolder, braver, louder.
You got your squeak on.
And can I just say, good for you, baby girl. It’s definitely your turn. You’re right in the middle of not only your brothers, but also resting right in the middle of the tension of where your brothers sit- dead center between teen and preschooler. You’re learning who you are, who you want to be. Nothing is by accident anymore; you move forward with intention. You’re tall enough to see over the wall and look at the bigger view. It’s overwhelming, I know, but you keep pushing through. You’ve found your fire, and now you’re learning to harness it. Sometimes that fire means you, or I, or both of us end up a little burnt, but we are learning together.
This summer you had an awful bicycle wreck. I’ve written about that, so I won’t be redundant, but you earned a red letter B for Badass that day. You were pretty remarkable through that entire ordeal, even things got scary for a minute there. For the first time, I saw that often quiet, inborn strength of a woman; that reserve we keep until it’s most needed. It was holy and beautiful but since you are still and always my baby, it broke my heart a little to watch you have to tap into it. It’s a strange dynamic, wanting to see that strength grow, but you knowing that strength often comes from struggle of one kind or another. It’s the same dance I’m still learning to do with your older brother, that holding on and letting go. I’ll be honest, though: maybe it’s your old soul, maybe it’s just being a female myself and therefore knowing what exactly you’re made of, but I trust the process a little more with you. My chest gets tight in the same way, but I know without a doubt that you’ll be more than alright.
Two weeks ago, we went swimming in a wild place. You jumped in over and over, you swam like the water was your first home. You were strong and sure and silly; legs and arms all over the place; total abandon. You and I jumped in holding hands a few times, and each time, you bolted out before me, and you let go first.
You’re bolting out before me. You’re letting go first.
I come up for air and see you like it’s just us. The indigo eyes, the easy grin, all lank and legs, confidently treading. I want to freeze you, us, here forever, before you aren’t holding my hand at all when you jump, and I also want to tell you run and leap on your own; see how far you can go. Motherhood is funny like that.
I’m proud of you, Jo. I’m proud of the woman I see you becoming. I’m proud of the fire. I’m proud of you for running out ahead and being unafraid. I’m so so so proud to get to be your mom.
Thanks for holding my hand once in a while, even if you don’t need it like you used to.