In December of 2020, she turned nine. And it happened in what seemed to be in the blink of an eye. My daughter went from a baby to a little girl, and now, a girl.
She had a hard second grade. She doesn’t enjoy reading and her work always made her, well, work. A lot. She has to work a lot for her grades. It’s what I had to do and it’s what she is going to have to do. The struggle will always be with her. And as sad as I am at this thought, as a parent, I’m also glad. She will succeed and she will fail. She will embrace many things and will walk away from things that don’t serve her. Because of how hard she will have to work, she will appreciate these things more. They will add richness to her life and they will help shape who she is; a pretty incredible person. With the help of her amazing teacher, we all worked in unison to get her where she needed to be.
And now that she’s nine, everything about her is different. A little girl with big blonde ringlets is now a girl who prefers to have long hair but doesn’t want to brush it. Last week, an oversized dread bulged from the back of her head. There were elephant tears when she combed that out three days later. A dress and rain boots that used to complete her wardrobe have been replaced with t-shirts, a pair of Doc Martens and stretch pants that seem to ALWAYS have stains on them after the first wear. Where do those stains come from and what are they? Oil? Deodorant isn’t just something she should remember to wear, it’s something she needs to remember to wear. She has hair under her arms. She rolls her eyes at me. She cries on command. She prefers the company of her friends on the computer (thanks, COVID) over the company of me, on most occasions.
But lately, we’ve tried something new to bond. When I was little, my parents got divorced and when we moved in with my Mom, I didn’t talk much. My Mom bought an .89 spiral-bound notebook that became our journal. We wrote to each other almost every day, and it didn’t even have to be about anything. I guess you can say that started my journey as a writer. So, here we are, 35 years later, and B and I are doing the same thing with my daughter.
At first, I had to remind her a lot to write to me. Every time she pointed out there was a new journal entry, I couldn’t wait to read it. And then, it fell off for a bit. But now we are back to writing. A few weeks ago when I was tucking her in, she handed me the journal and a pen. I wrote to her after she went to bed and couldn’t wait for her to read it in the morning. And we’ve been writing to each other ever since. Things in this beautiful girl’s life are changing, so I must too, adapt, and be sure that no matter how we’re communicating, we’re communicating.
Talking hasn’t been happening as much, so we journal. And I love it. I hope that she knows how I cherish every thought, feeling, worry, hope and wish.