Yesterday, I looked at you and knew that you had changed. And it wasn’t just the number of freckles or the freshly-pierced ears or the first pair of shorts that didn’t reach all the way to your knees.
You’re getting older.
You act differently when there’s a boy in the room (even if he is your cousin). Sometimes you cry in the evening and you won’t tell me exactly why. “I just want everyone to stop asking me questions,” you say. You wear perfume. You don’t wear the jeans with the patches because you think you’ll look silly.
So this is when it happens, when you start to learn that world is not quite as perfect as you first thought. That life is not always easy. STEM classes don’t have recess. You hate to compete with your friends, but sometimes you can’t help it. People that we love die and the explanation is not good enough.
When you draw pictures of our family, you and I always look exactly alike; I’m just a little bit taller. We wear the same triangle dress. Our red hair falls along the same diagonal. The same blue colors our eyes. And I wonder if, when you look at me, you see you.
It is your first time being seven. It is my first time being the mother of a seven-year-old. We walk the line: you, between self-consciousness and self-confidence, and I, between overprotection and overexposure. And we both falter.
For right now, you still believe in Santa. You’re pretty convinced you saw the fairy’s wings when you lost your second tooth. You see a book on the table called Adam’s Return and you say, “It says ‘Adam’s return.’ I thought that maybe . . . ” And even though you don’t say it, I know what you thought. I know what you believed, what you want to believe, even if it’s just for this minute. (After all, Easter just passed, and Jesus did it, so why not?)
Someday, you won’t believe these things. But someday is not right now.
Right now, this is what I know: when I look at you, I see something more beautiful than I could ever possibly be.