“But I don’t want to grow up!” she sobbed through her tears. “I don’t want to get bigger and older. I just want to stay my age!”
So many overwhelming emotions pouring out of a beautiful and sensitive growing heart. She couldn’t release them from her lips quickly enough.
A blooming beauty, teetering between childhood and young adulthood; wavering from side to side; feeling especially unbalanced today. Torn between the little girl who loves dolls, bicycling, coloring and Legos; and the young woman desiring more privacy, sports activities, time with friends and the tugs of "growing up".
Thirty minutes of letting her unleash the worries overflowing her heart and soul. Right onto her lunch plate. Listening. Gently encouraging. Boldly praising. Such an exhausting tug-and-pull between her two clashing worlds.
And in those thirty minutes of gently working through some very big emotions, my mind could not help but constantly flip back to an absolutely precious moment , celebrating her most recent birthday with her grandparents. As she came to the end of opening her presents, and just before tearing apart the wrapping to uncover the “least exciting” gifts of all: clothes, she unwrapped a baby doll.
My heart couldn’t have smiled any bigger inside of my chest as she carefully pulled apart the colored paper and her eyes met the gift inside.
A baby doll.
A basic toddler baby doll.
Just a few accessories.
But beautifully simple in its own right.
She grinned, so very unsure of how she should react. Quickly questioning if this was meant for her four-year-old sister.
But her smile said it all. As her twinkling eyes met my own mom’s eyes.
And her grandma’s words couldn’t have been any more perfect in the absolute sweetness of it all.
“I know, sweetie. Maybe it seems silly, but I think every girl needs her own baby doll. I know you’re getting bigger, and your interests are changing, but in our eyes, you’re still our little granddaughter, and your Mommy and Daddy’s little girl. I think sometimes you need to be reminded of that. That you don’t have to try to grow up so quickly.”
Oh, how much our growing children need this reminder.
Oh, how much my heart exploded at the precious truth surrounding this thoughtful gift.
In a world that hurries them; in a world that tries to exploit them every chance possible; in a world that brings them to the verge of adulthood far too early; in a world that emphasizes getting involved in all the activities all the time; in a world where parents fall into their own comparison webs, causing their children to feel the exact same stickiness at such a young age; in a world that embraces idolizing being everyone and everything but the beautiful, genuine, in-the-moment self that God intended our children to be...
...sometimes, our babies just need that insanely simple reminder.
It’s okay to be a child.
It’s okay to play.
It’s okay to be you.
It’s plain-and-simply okay.
And to an eleven-year-old girl going through a whole heap of emotions and changes right now, that “silly” baby doll that sat open, enveloped in colorful birthday paper, on her lap, was every bit of reassurance she needs in her world right now.