River is 10 today! This has been the slowest year in many ways. One in which she has had to speed up and thicken her skin so that she may mostly learn from home and flow with the many ups and downs of school and life. But also one where time has slowed down and almost every hour and minute, I watch as her mind and body make a fruitful transition. It has caused me to pause, step back, think clearer, act louder, retreat, and come back softer. Her growing has inevitably become a growing season for us all.
So while I’m not sure how one turned into nine. I can sincerely say (as of now) I can see how nine turned to ten. Not only how it arrived, but what stretched and bloomed in its path.
As River has gotten older, my approach to parenting has changed a great deal. I realize that these are the days. Yes, the first few years are important. But God, no one says that this is where they’re truly listening and watching! This is where all that intention talk comes into play. This is where the rope can become taut or loose. You can resist who your child is and is not becoming, or you can lean in and find a sweet spot that allows for boundaries, care, and even friendship.
When I think about my own childhood, I remember these as the days when my mother was her most attentive. And while our parenting style diverges, I am honored to be able to still hold those years of my own so close as my compass as I raise a pre-teen girl.
I want to keep River soft, artistic, aware, empathetic, generous and genuinely kind. And this year I was reminded that if I just let her, she will be. If I just let myself be vulnerable around her too, she will be. Raising a pre-teen (so far) feels like the softest call of time. An inner child that is so vastly different and the same, always stands within proximity.
Here’s to growing, learning, and staying soft.