Still So Small

You came in to brush your teeth with me, mainly because you can’t stand to be in the bathroom, or bedroom, or basement, or family room, or anywhere at all by yourself.  I was in a bit of a hurry, but I sat down to wait for you and when I caught sight of you in the mirror, all five years and 360 days of you, I couldn’t look away.  There you stood with your back to me, tippy-toed on the little white stool.  I could see the bottoms of your socks, and how they are stained gray because you insist on running outside in your sock feet, even though I tell you about every single day not to run outside in your sock feet.  (Why must you?  Why?)  But the gray doesn’t bother me this day.  For in my mind I see flashes of you, your red hair bouncing off your shoulders in the sun, your little white socked feet skipping through the flowers along the sidewalk, down the driveway to me at the mailbox.

Again I looked at you.  Your small fist was wrapped tightly around your toothbrush… you scrubbed your tiny baby teeth.  Back and forth, across and up and down and then you leaned in so that the toothpaste would drip into the sink.  And your elbows and your legs…they seemed smaller than I remembered.  Smaller, and softer and more delicate.   And I realized how little you still are.  Maybe I expect you to be bigger than you are…maybe I have forgotten that you are still so small.

Six.

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You are six now.  And though you have much to learn and far to go, you seem to have developed some rather strong likes and dislikes.  I think they tell a story about you, Ella…a story worth knowing.

You like Jellycat.  (An awful lot.)

You like flowers.

You like butterflies.  Ladybugs.  Bees.  And worms!

Movies.  Popcorn (with butter).

Cats (Still.  Really Ella?).

Candy.  Gum.

Spaghetti.

Skipping.  Swinging.  Twirling.  Singing.

Minecraft.

The windows rolled down.  And not wearing shoes.

You like bubble baths.

Popsicles.

The pool.  The lake.  The ocean.

Riding bikes.

Basketball.

Holding hands.  (I think I will die a little when you stop holding my hand.)

Blowing kisses.

You find the following to be unworthy of your time and attention:

Homework.  Especially handwriting.

Setting the table.

Brushing your teeth (sometimes you fake it).

Shampooing your hair.

Rinsing your hair.

Brushing your hair.  (One day I’m going to videotape the brushing of the hair.  You should know the drama that you created for the first six years of your life.  Because you have some serious drama going on sweetheart).

Grocery shopping.

Waiting.  (Patience is for other people.)

Walking any distance greater than one block.  (May the good Lord shine some mercy upon me next year when you have to walk to school because I’m not sure I’m going to survive that fresh hell.)

Sitting still.

Going potty.

You are such a treasure, Ella Lou.  Because of you I have learned to see things that I wouldn’t have seen before, like how pretty a little girl can be even when she is covered in dirt.  And how sometimes it is okay to wear your tiara and princess dress to the grocery store.  And that having perfectly white socks really doesn’t matter all that much in the end.

My little baby girl…do you know that I still watch you sleep at night? That I kiss your forehead and smell your hair and hold your little hand? And some nights when the light catches you just right, I stare at you, thankful that you are mine. As those moments quietly slip away, I feel the knotty truth of how short our time is together. How quickly you are growing, and how soon it will be before you are grown. You lie there dreaming your six year old dreams with jellycat tucked tightly under your chin, and I know that I am better for having had you. You are the culmination of a dream that began when I was sixteen years old.  You are the answer to a prayer, the best surprise.

Happy sixth birthday, Ella Louise…

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Still So Small

6 thoughts on “Still So Small

  1. jen says:

    I know Miss E will love reading this post when she gets older. Hug that sweet girl of yours for me. Happy Birthday!

    1. Hope so! She had a wonderful birthday–it was one of the best days we’ve had in a long time. :) Hope you’re enjoying the summer so far. Can’t believe how much rain…

      ________________________________

  2. Such a sobbing mess here over this. I had an “Andy Moment” today with my Bella girl as I watched her picking up her stuffed animals. Did you see Toy Story 3… when the toys are all boxed up to be put in the attic? And I fell apart picturing that box full of Digger Dog and Snowball and the rest… Oh, they are still so small, yes, but heaven help us when they are grown.

    This was such a beautiful post.

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