Oh, lordy, I'm not talking about my own! The only thing I like about being in my 40s is the realization that at least I'm not in my 50s yet. Don't get me wrong, there are some pluses, added confidence, sweating less the small stuff. But let's be honest here: everything I eat makes me fat and tweezers are my new best friend. I'm pretty sure if I were just to let everything go, I could run away and join the circus. Sure, it'd have to be a circus from 1934 where Nick Stahl brings Grandma Joad back from the dead, but you take my obscure literary-cum-pop-culture point. Or maybe you don't - I'm talking about the preponderance of chin hairs - if I were to just stop plucking, I could easily be mistaken for a billy goat. An attractive billy goat with a nice rack and good legs. But a billy goat nonetheless.
I'm talking about Laney's aging process.
I'm not a baby person. I like to hold babies and coo over how cute they are. My coos are honest coos, they are not just-being-polite coos. But I also like handing babies back to their parents. This might be because I never had Laney as a baby. I don't really have a typical parental frame of reference for babies. I like to talk (I know, that's shocking) and especially like talking to kids.
I tell Laney that I like her more every day and, much like the coos, I'm not just being polite. It's true! I like being able to sleep eight hours every night (that's a lie... I prefer nine). And knowing that Laney can bathe herself and brush her own teeth! And that I can take the dog for a walk and leave Laney in front of Adventure Time. Oh! And the TV they watch! Dora the Explorer is blissfully blessedly a thing of the past. Dora the Explorer is literally the worst and Adventure Time is fantastic!
But more than that, we can have conversations and read the same books. She's so smart and so funny. And still so snuggly and lovey! She's my little girl, but she's my little girl who can wipe her own butt. This is a lovely place to be.
Alas, though, I know this time will go too fast because we got here from two years old in about 15 minutes. Soon she'll be getting her period and having those girly dramas and going to high school and getting really embarrassed of me (I actually look forward to that part... I can have a lot of fun with that).
I remember when I was Laney's age and we'd go to church in early December and the priest would light the first candle on the Advent Wreath. It took a million years before Santa came. And now, I'm thinking already about what to get Laney for Christmas, knowing I'll have to go shopping like next weekend.
It just goes so fast, doesn't it? And it's such a hard balance to strike among mourning the child that was and enjoying the child that is and looking forward to the child that will be. I suppose this is something best intellectualized less and accepted/enjoyed more in the moment. I'll always be wanting to slow it down and she'll always be wanting to speed it up. In the meantime, I like Laney at 9. A little more than I liked Laney at 8 because I have an extra year of getting to know her and of her getting to be who she is. I'll probably like Laney at 10 even more.
I expect, though, a slight dip in the graph will occur with Laney at 13... if she's ANYTHING like I was. If you're reading, Mom, sorry! I'll make sure to email you when Laney starts rolling her eyes and flipping me off behind my back.