I often think about you throughout the day. I think about a lot of little things, like the look of completed bliss on your face as we hug or snuggle; the way you sit at the table just happy as a clam as you work on whatever project you have going on; how you are always so thrilled to show me absolutely everything; the way you love surprises and how much you hate a ruined surprise… so much so that you will want everyone to pretend that it’s still a surprise; the sweet little things you say; even how grumpy you are when you wake up in the morning and I laugh because I think it’s so funny, but it just makes you more grumpy; how talented and accomplished you are at so many things; the way you love so well and think the best of absolutely everyone and everything… essentially, I have so much to think on so often, and I do. And it makes my heart happy. Just the thought of you makes me so very happy. It causes me to wish I could keep you forever.
Last week when we were out, you so wanted me to pick you up and hold you. But I couldn’t because I was carrying something and wouldn’t have been able to hold the both of you. Instead, I told you that you are a big, strong, nine-year-old girl and that as much as I would love to hold and carry you, you are just too big at this point. You kept asking me though, completely exasperated that I would refuse something so wonderful… sure that if you asked a few more times, that I would concede and we would both be filled with joy about it. But I didn’t, and quiet tears started to slide down your cheeks. Not in a manipulative way though, because you were actually embarrassed and so sad about it. I asked about the tears and you said, “I dislike getting older. The older I get, the less you are able to do all the things I love most.” Ugh, it pulled on my heart strings because I feel it too. You were mourning the loss of something you loved much, and you said, “I wish I could stay little , so that you could keep me forever.” Me too, darling.
Every stage of your life I have loved the best and wished in my heart that it could be kept frozen in time… just so I could enjoy that exact you as long as I wanted. But magically you become older, bigger, wiser, different and I love you even more. This precise time in your life though, I really think this is my most favorite. You have such solid ideas with such a determined and inquisitive nature, yet you still depend so much on me and you still want my help and attention always. It feels like a delicate balance of growing up, yet still wanting and loving me as much as a young child loves their mama. Dependent, yet capable. Still oblivious to the hurts of the world, tucked sweetly and safely in our little nest. Innocent and untarnished in any way; a big girl, yet a little girl at heart. I try to treasure this every day.
Unfortunately, you cannot stay nine forever and this magical time in your life must change and evolve into another one. Through it, I will continue to find joy in your beautiful smile, your gigantic and generous heart, and your limitless and grand ideas. Every bit of you is my favorite, favorite.
All my love,
Marla Cyree of Simply Splendid specializes in film photography in Portland, Oregon as a newborn, family, and wedding photographer.