I remember when I was young my mother would say things like, “you’ll always be my baby boy,” and, “I wish I could put a brick on your head so you would stay little forever.” Now I’m a parent and my little baby has grown into a big girl. I feel my mother’s words coming to my lips and they almost spill out. Then I look at Ruby and realize that I wouldn’t hold on if I could. She’s growing, and I often feel like I’m not paying close enough attention; feel like I’m missing too many of the precious moments of her life, too many of the new facial expressions, thoughts, worries; feel like too soon she’ll be 14 then 21 and off on her own adventures.
Even as I worry about these moments flying by unobserved or under-appreciated I marvel at her. I marvel as she competently hops off our boat to cleat us off at the docks; wonder at the stories and songs she creates, her whole magical inner-self exposed; beam as she wakes me up with hot coffee (sometimes a little gritty, but still); cringe as she makes the same mistakes I made (and still make); and revel when she becomes—for a moment—her best self.
My not-so-little girl turned 7 yesterday. On her next birthday she will have crossed an ocean. She will, if her promises are to be believed, have bought her own sailboat and be sailing next to Convivia. She will (according to her) be almost a grown up. Will I be stemming the flood of cliches again next year, or will I finally have spent the time observing and appreciating her magnificent orbit around the sun?