“Just like that” I often say. It feels just like that most of the time. From the mornings when she combs her hair on her own, or does her homework with little help (and proves she’s better at math than her parents will ever be), or at night when she reads a book to sleep—no longer waiting for me to read after I’m done reading to her brother. Just like that, she’s nine. Nine is so little and so very big.
I tend to be thankful for the camera and smart phone on most days, but on a birthday in-particular. There’s much I don’t remember (and River does), and then I look at my phone of things I’ve recorded or snapped. This birthday was one of those we looked back a bit more, as it is the last of the single digits.
We had a full birthday weekend of her favorite things. On Saturday there was a small birthday party with a handful of her girlfriends. I styled a magical reading table of trinkets, bobbles and towering books. There were blue candles (her request), a cat garland, bronze metallic paper separating the rooms, and things that made the party particularly feel like River. I had so much fun putting it together. The girls designed t-shirts with paint, made personal cups of slime, and played musical chairs. They read books and in the morning we woke up and ate stacks of pancakes at our local diner. In the afternoon, we went ice skating, had cake, and opened presents as a family. I think I had just as much fun as she did.
Each birthday I am reminded of all the lessons I’ve learned while mothering. And I’m eternally grateful to River for them too. I learn something new about myself and about what it means to mother as they grow every. single. day. Being present in the big-kid-raising time has brought me so much closer to my self at her age. I am forced to address old behaviors and learned patterns, and have learned to love in other ways, too.
No road is easy, but raising this nine year old in particular has been more than wonderful. There’s not much else to say about it. She is some sort of magical being and I’m excited to be on this road next to her as she moves in this world in her very own way.