family, Kids, Uncategorized

Gifts from Little People


“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mama. Sorry they’re dead. But uh, it’s winter, so…”

Wyokiddo @ 4  years old.  If I’m being honest, I’ve received far less thoughtful gifts from far less cuter humans.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Show the world how big your heart is today, and every day.


family, Uncategorized, writing, Wyoming

The Mother of Invention

We’ve got a house full of new toys Wyokiddo received for Christmas.  But for almost two hours tonight, she entertained herself with a box, straws, tape, beads, feathers and pipe cleaners.  Lots and lots of pipe cleaners.

She was creating an “invention.”  I’m not clear on what the invention will do once it is finished.  I don’t know that she cares.  Wyokiddo was all about the process, attacking the placement of each hole, each bit of straw, with a great deal of concentration and seriousness.

Wyokiddo is too young for New Year’s Resolutions.  But I think I’ll take my cue from her and work to find joy and purpose in the little things that surround me.




family, Uncategorized, writing

Fearless: Life Lessons from a 4-Year Old

Today was the last trip Wyokiddo and I will make to the city pool for the summer.  It’s closing this weekend and we have a full schedule the next few days.  We made the most of our time, including Wyokiddo’s first trip off the diving board.

This summer, with very little help from me, she learned to actually swim, float and dive to the bottom of the pool to retrieve an object.  Her big cousin just taught her how to do a flip underwater and she was even on the cusp of handstands.  She is positively fearless.

I can swim but I’m not truly comfortable in the water.  So I am in absolute awe of her in the pool.  As I swam to the middle of the deep end to catch her coming off the board, her confidence took my break away.  Without a moment’s hesitation, she climbed the ladder, marched out the end of the plank, gave one little wiggle of her butt and leaped into the water with the biggest smile on her face.  No second guessing, no worrying.  She just closed her eyes and jumped.

And to think I could have missed it.

There are times I get self-conscious, lumbering around in my bathing suit.  I feel a bit like a moose clambering to get out of a mud bog.  I could have let my own fear and body image get in the way of enjoying a summer at the pool with my kid.  Do I look good in a swimsuit?  Well, no.  I’m carrying 3o extra pounds.  I have dimples on my ass and my bangs are thinning.  And thanks to breastfeeding, my chest isn’t what it used to be.  But I get in the pool anyway.

Because here’s the thing…my daughter doesn’t care.  She doesn’t see those imperfections.  She just sees her mama in the pool, ready to catch her as she leaps off the diving board for the first time.  She will remember having fun in the water and laughing when she soaks me, not my cellulite or my flabby arms.

This summer, we ran into friends of Wyokiddos at the pool, but only one was with his mom.  Wyokiddo asked me why her friends’ moms didn’t come to the pool, why some only came with a babysitter.  I explained that some moms had to work, that some moms couldn’t swim, and that some moms didn’t like to get in the pool.

Today, as we were walking to our car to go home, she squeezed my hand and said “Thanks for being a mom that gets in the pool.”

I know there will be moments in the future when I don’t feel good about my body.  I’ll compare it to someone else and feel ashamed that I don’t look like I did when I was 16.  I just hope when those moments hit me, I can remember my fearless four-year old and channel her enthusiasm and confidence.  Because I never want to be anything less than the mom that gets in the pool.



family, Uncategorized, writing

For Wyokiddo, on her 4th birthday

Family -21eDear Emily,

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  How can you be turning 4?  It doesn’t seem like 4 years have passed since we welcomed you into our lives.  But here you are, growing in size and sass each and every day.

This year, you finally understood the concept of a birthday.  You knew you would turn 4, that we’d have a party and that you’d get presents.  You were so excited for this birthday, you told everyone you met about it, including that Mama is going to make you a Paw Patrol cake.

This is just one of many things you’ve learned since the last birthday.  You are like a little sponge, soaking up anything and everything about the world around you.  You are fascinated with animals, domestic and wild.  Your favorite activity the last few weeks has been to go visit the chicks in their brooder houses.  You will sit down in the sawdust with them and let them climb all over you.  You giggle when they try to crawl in your boot.  You scold them when they peck at one another.  You cheer when they begin learning to fly and mourn the loss of the ones that don’t make it.  You would sit with your chicks for hours in those sweltering barns if I would let you.

You’re also learning about wildlife and wild birds.  You can spot deer and antelope hiding on the side of the road before I can.  I love that you can identify the birds that come visit our feeder, or that you can identify a killdeer just by hearing its call.  It tells me that you are paying attention to the little details in life, and that you understand there is a world beyond a television or iPod.

You’ve also become a great fishing buddy.  As the weekend approaches, you will ask if we can go fishing on Daddy’s day off.  You trudge behind us, eagerly carrying your Mickey Mouse fishing pole or the worm box.  It doesn’t matter that you haven’t caught a fish – you just like seeing anything come out of the water.  After I caught some crappie on our second trip out, you must have given me a million high fives.  “Way to go catching that fish Mama!”  When you get bored, we pass the time letting the water splash on our feet, watch the silly grebes or make us stories about the fish we’ll see in faraway places.  I love these moments as much as I love actually fishing, because it’s just the three of us, our little family sharing something we love without distraction.

The last year has been full of big changes.  Moving to a new place, a new room, giving up the binky, starting preschool, getting a big girl bed.  You have handled each with grace and courage.  I continue to be amazed at your fearlessness and confidence.  You aren’t reckless, but you aren’t timid either.  When you started preschool last fall, you weren’t scared.  You threw open the door, marched right down the hall and said “Schoool, here I come!”  In the pool, you are teaching all the boys how to jump in without having someone there to catch you.  And you are not afraid to start a conversation with a grownup, whether it’s the bagger at the grocery store or the lady checking out our books in the library.

You aren’t a baby anymore.  You tell me this all the time, but it is evident in your appearance and demeanor.  You are a preschooler who is ready to take life by the horns and wrestle it to the ground.  You are developing a wonderful sense of humor and a sense of compassion.

I would be remiss if I didn’t log some of your favorites at this particular moment in time, so here goes.  Your favorite TV shows right now are Shimmer and Shine, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and Wild Kratts.  You requested a Paw Patrol cake for your birthday and still love all the pups.  You ask me to make homemade pizza at least once a week.  You love to eat frozen mangoes with breakfast.  You are packing around Baby, your first doll, with you wherever you go.  In fact, you plan to use some of the birthday money GG gave you to buy a stroller and bottle for Baby so that she’s never hungry.  You want to be in the water constantly, and can even swim on your own for a few seconds.  I am still your best friend, and Roxy dog is one of your favorite playmates.  Each day when you get up from your nap, you still squeal and run to him when you see Daddy.

I hope every birthday makes you as happy as this one had.  We celebrated with Grammie and Papa, Nana, Uncle Bill, Aunt Debbie and Ellen.  You were enamored with Ellen and had a great conversation about her nail polish, much to Daddy’s chagrin.  (She’s a great role model, by the way.  Please look up to her as you grow up!)  It didn’t matter that the cake I made was a little lopsided or that we had no decorations.  You were surrounded by your family and we celebrated with love.  You finally got that rainbow lights Barbie mermaid you’ve been coveting since Christmas, so I think that part was pretty cool, too.

While your boundless energy sometimes exhausts me, I am forever grateful to have such a sunny free-spirited daughter.  You make me take myself less seriously and keep us laughing with your silliness and exuberance.  May you always be so ebulient and joyful and pure of heart.

Never doubt how much Daddy and I love you at this stage and all the stages beyond.  We will forever be your biggest champions.

Happy birthday, Emmers.  I love you.


P.S.  Thanks to my dear friend of the Bronco Babies blog for giving me the idea of writing a letter to my daughter each year on her birthday.

country life, parenting, Uncategorized, writing

The Tough Stuff

Wyokiddo and I were exploring in a nearby tree belt when I heard the scream.  If you’ve ever heard it, it’s not a pleasant sound, or one that you ever forget.  It was a rabbit screaming, and it meant trouble.  My dog had found a bunny hiding under a tree and had it in her mouth, ready to shake it.

“Roxy, NO!” I yelled.  She immediately dropped the bunny, but the damage had been done.  A quick look told me the bunny had a broken hind leg.

We built a yard for our dogs for this very reason.  To keep them safe and keep other animals safe from them.  But I like to let the dogs run around with us when we are playing outside.  I’d kept the dogs away from the areas I knew had rabbit nests, but we’d inadvertently found another.  I scolded the dog, but was really scolding myself for letting it happen.  Damn.

“What happened, Mama?”  Wyokiddo was immediately at my side, crouching in the grass beside me.  “Awwww, a baby bunny.  It’s so little.  Is it hurt?”

Ugh.  Moment of truth with the almost 4-year old.  Should I gloss it over or be honest?  I chose honesty.

“Yes.  Roxy hurt this bunny.  She broke its leg, and there is nothing we can do to help it get better.”

“It won’t get better?”  Wyokiddo asked with big eyes and grave concern in her voice.

And thus began one of those conversations I hate having with my daughter.  We talked about how the bunny was hurt too much to help, and that the kindest thing we could do was to have Daddy euthanize it.  I told her it is our jobs as people to make sure we are responsible enough not to let an animal suffer, even if it makes us sad to kill the animal.  I told her killing the bunny was much kinder than leaving it to slowly starve to death or be found by another predator and suffer more.  So we found a box for the bunny and some shade and texted Daddy for help.

On our way back to the house, Wyokiddo and I talked about what happens to an animal or person when they die.  It is a talk we’ve had entirely too often at our house lately, after my father passed away last fall and we had to have one of our dogs euthanized.

“Is the bunny in heaven, like Papa and Archie?  It went to be with God?” she asked.

“I like to think so, kiddo.”

It would have been so easy to lie to Wyokiddo.  I could have left the bunny under the tree and told her all would be well.  No questions about death or heaven or why dogs kill bunnies.  But that’s not reality.  As much as I want to protect my kid from the ugly side of life, I know she needs to feel sadness.  Loss.  Confusion.

She needs to feel those emotions because they are part of life.  Animals will die.  Girls will be mean to her.  Someone will lie to her or hurt her feelings or try to take advantage of her.  And she will need to know what to do with those big emotions – how to process them, how to deal with them.

Outdoor Guy and I use these moments to teach her how to deal with the tough stuff as a 3-year old so that she has the grit and emotional intelligence to deal with the tougher stuff as a 13 year-old or 39-year old.  We talk about the tough stuff now to build trust and honesty among our family.  We want Wyokiddo to know we will be open and honest with her and that she can ask tough questions.  Yesterday it was a a hurt bunny.  Someday it will be mean girls, cute boys, drugs, school shootings or worse.  So we tell her the truth, in terms she can understand.  Always.

“Is it okay to be a little mad at Roxy because she hurt the bunny?”


“Is it okay to be sad that the bunny died?”


“Is it okay to be excited that Grammie and Papa are coming to visit even though the bunny died?”


“Can I pet the bunny and tell it good bye and that I’m sorry?”

“I think that’s a great idea.”

I wish everything could be lollipops and sunshine in Wyokiddo’s life, but I know it won’t.  My hope is that by dealing with the tough stuff now she’ll be better prepared to chase away the rain and spread her own sunshine in life down the road.




family, parenting, Uncategorized

Parent-teacher conferences and dogs as siblings

Emily and Roxy.jpgLast night was my first ever parent-teacher conference.  Outdoor Guy and I ate a hasty dinner, threw Wyokiddo in the car and headed into town for a a review of my daughter’s scholastic performance.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous.  What would her teachers have to say?  Is she kind to the other kids?  Is she meeting social and academic milestones?  Is she the weird kid at school?  Aaccckk, I don’t want to her to be the weird kid!

She’s 3, by the way.

I realize my apprehension was a little overboard.  I only enrolled Wyokiddo in preschool as a way to make some friends in our new town and build social skills.  This isn’t a Yale prep school by any means.  But an assessment of Wyokiddo at this point in time is basically an assessment of my parenting.  And anyone who knows me knows I’m an overachiever.  So yes, I was obsessing.

I really shouldn’t have worried.  Mrs. Molly and Mrs. Mareta reported that Wyokiddo is flourishing in school.  She enjoys her new friends, is mindful of the adults and is showing progress in learning expectations.  When it came to her academic testing, she is learning at or well above her age.  Hooray!

Some levity was added to our evening when Mrs. Molly described Wyokiddo talking about her sister.  According to my preschooler, she has an older sister she loves very much.  Her sister is 8 years old, blonde and likes to run around and play dress up.  Wyokiddo failed to mention that her “sister” also occasionally eats her own poop, pukes up grass on my living room floor and is a dog.  A girl can dream, I suppose.

The best part of our night was hearing Wyokiddo’s teachers describe the things they like best about our daughter.  She is kind.  She is empathetic. She loves to give hugs. She is silly and funny.  She loves to learn and tries so hard to be a good listener and student.

It’s about all a mom can wish for from my little dynamo, whether she’s three or 13.  We are blessed.





Children, nature, outdoors, parenting

Life is too short for clean fingernails

Emily Dirt Pile 2One of Wyokiddo’s favorite spots to play is the gravel pile outside our back yard.  It’s big, it’s messy, it’s fun.  Some days, she just likes to climb to the top and sit there.  Other days, she arranges the rocks in pretty patterns, then watch as she tumbles them down the hill.   Occasionally, she’ll reenact a wilderness rescue or pretend to be on a bear hunt.

I don’t tell her how to play on the dirt pile.  Or to not get her clothes dirty.  I’ll help her ascend the mountain and then stand back and watch her be a kid.

Today, she was having fun on the dirt pile pretending the rocks were confetti and she was throwing a surprise party.  She gather a handful of rocks, shriek “SURPRISE!” and throw them up in the air, all the while giggling her tinkly little 3-year old giggle.

Music to my ears and salve to my soul.

I let my little preschooler romp and get dirty outdoors for a lot of different reasons.  Getting dirty helps with allergies and asthma and a host of skin disorders.  Getting dirty stimulates her senses.  Climbing and digging and playing helps build her little muscles and coordination.  It burns off her endless energy.  And it’s just plain fun.

One of my favorite books from my days in the professional world was Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Kids from Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv.  Louv’s book deals with the growing disconnect between society and the environment, especially as it pertains to children.  Louv builds a case for some of society’s problems being caused by a lack of time outside, unstructured, in nature.  He advocates for immersing our children in nature for the social, physical and physiologically benefits.

“In our bones we need the natural curves of hills, the scent of chaparral, the whisper of pines, the possibility of wildness.”  –Richard Louv

I’m not a social scientist or psychologist.  But it doesn’t take an expert to realize playing outside, in then fresh air with room to let your imagination run wild is a pretty darn healthy and happy way to grow up.

So let them eat dirt.  Or at least roll around in it.


P.S.  If you’ve never read Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Kids from Nature-Deficit Disorder, I highly recommend it.  He’s admittedly short on empirical proof to back up some of his claims, but the basic idea that we are losing something when we remove ourselves and our kids from nature has merit.  It will inspire you to turn off the electronics and get your kids outside, and it gives you ideas and suggestions on how to do it.

family, parenting, photography, writing

Forget Money and Power. I have Playdough.

Emily and her monstersThis morning, Wyokiddo and I spent the better part of 90 minutes playing with her Playdough.  We started out making jewelery, but pretty soon, she invented her own “game” and was making Jack O’Lanterns out of Playdough and various loose parts we keep around the house like google eyes, faux jewels, craft sticks and buttons.

Together, we’d roll the Playdough into balls, then she would set about decorating them.  Some got a stem, some got eyes, some got bling.  I just sat back and watched.  I loved seeing the concentration on her face as she decided objects with which to adorn her creation.  I loved seeing her little fingers nimbly picking up tiny pieces and fixing them in place.  I loved hearing her giggle at her own silliness.  It was a joy to just be there and share that time with her.

It is morning like this that make me feel grateful that our family chose to have me be a stay-at-home mom.  And my heart is full knowing it was absolutely the right choice.

When Outdoor Guy and I got engaged eight years ago, we realized that some really big decisions loomed ahead for us, certainly bigger than which set of dishes would be on our registry.  We met and dated while both working for our state wildlife agency, but living almost 400 miles apart.  He was a culturist at a fish hatchery, I managed the agency’s public information and publications.  One of us was going to have to quit our job and move.

We weighed the pros and cons of our situation.  Both of us loved our jobs and were darn good at them.  We both had potential for advancement.  As a manager, my position made more money but required a great deal of travel and overtime.  His position came with a house and flexibility and a great deal of stability.  But then we talked about what we wanted for our future, and the choice became clear.  The Monday morning after we got engaged, I told my bosses the news.  Outdoor Guy and I chose a future with a family and the chance for me to be a stay-at-home mom.

It hasn’t always been an easy road.  There are times I miss the excitement of working and being part of the action.  Outdoor Guy has changed careers from fish to pheasants to create a better situation for our family.  We had to learn how to support two of us, then three of us, on an income that previously had supported just one person.  We budget our money carefully and live frugally.  We drive used cars.  Vacations are a once-every-five-year luxury, not an annual event.

Occasionally, I’ll get an offer to go back to work.  And for about two days, I’ll be tempted by it.  I’m lured by the excitement, the money, the variety of schedule.

Then I’ll have a morning like this.  A lazy day with nothing on my agenda but watching my dynamic little girl play.  I’m soon reminded that anyone can run an agency’s public relations.  But I’m the only one who can be Wyokiddo’s mommy.  And that’s the best job of all.

family, Kids, parenting

Girls with Grit

DSC_0264Early in May, Wyokiddo and I spent a morning exploring a nearby children’s village and garden.  It’s a wonderful space, designed for all sorts of hands-on exploration and play.  The morning was blue-bird beautiful and perfect for an end-of-spring outing. I guess we weren’t the only ones who had the same idea.  There were several schools and even a Girl Scout Troop there.

Wyokiddo loved taking her shoes off and splashing in the water with the older girls.  I was staying out of the way, giving all the kids some space to just be kids.  Suddenly, the morning was filled with terrified shrieking, splashing and a dozen panicked 9-year old girls scrambling to get out of the wading area.  They were literally climbing over the top of one another to get out of the water.  I grabbed Wyokiddo before she got knocked over in the fray, and tried to figure out what was going on.

“Oh. My. God.  It’s a Monster!”  one girl cried, pointed to the water, and the others set off shrieking again.

I scoured the water for the beast of the deep.  The way these girls were wailing and screaming and carrying on, I expected to see a great white shark or Nessie herself rise from the depths.

It was a crawdad.

Crawdad, or crayfish for the non-Wyoming hillbillys, are a small, freshwater crustacean that resembles a lobster.  Some are kept as pets.  Others are used as bait in fishing.  I’ve even participated in a crayfish boil and ate the delicious little buggers.  But this one wouldn’t have even made a good appetizer.  He was about an inch and a half long, and contentedly climbing over the rocks looking for food.

“It’s just a crawdad.  It won’t hurt you unless it feels threatened.  Just give him some space to eat his breakfast,” I told the girls.  When I knelt down to take a closer look, I set off another round of screams and flailing.

“I am not getting near the water with that thing in it,” one Girl Scout told me adamantly.  The others nodded and stepped back further from the water.

The 9-year old tomboy in me desperately wanted to grab the thing and chase the sissy la-la girls around with it.  But that is probably frowned upon these days, especially when you are 38.  Instead, I called Wyokiddo to my side and pointed the crawdad out to her.

“See, it’s a crawdad.  We catch them fishing sometimes,” I told her.  “He came in with the water, and he likes living here because it’s safe and he can find bugs and plants to eat.  If he lived in the big lake over there, he could get eaten by a fish or a bird.”

“Can he snap me?” my daughter asked, pointing to his small claws.

I told her yes, they could pinch, and it can hurt.  I explained that crawdads don’t go around pinching just for fun.  They do it for survival, like when they are scared by bigger animals or people try to pick them up.

We crouched by the ponds and watched the critter dig in the rocks for a few minutes.  Soon, she was bored with the monster and decided to get back in the water and wade around.  She had the ponds all to herself.

I spent a lot of time thinking about that day.  The girls’ reactions really bothered me.  It wasn’t the fear of the unknown that grated on me.  I understand fear.  It was the screaming and flailing and just the drama of it all.  I think only two of the girls actually saw the crawdad, the rest were just joining in the drama for the sake of it.  I spent much of my teenage years mired in drama (some of it self-created, admittedly.)  It took up a lot of my time and emotional energy and made high school so much harder than it ever needed to be.  So now I have very little patience for drama of any kind.

I thought about what kind of young woman I wanted Wyokiddo to grow up to be.  Not the activities I want her to participate in or the skills I want her to have, but what sort of character I wish for her. And along with grace, kindness and integrity, I realized I want her to have a little bit of moxie, a little bit of grit.  I want her to see the crawdad as something cool to learn about, not something to fear.  I want her to follow her own instincts, not the crowd.  I want her to be the kind of girl who can love pink and wear dresses and play in the dirt.  I want her to assess a situation then confidently say “I’ve got this.”

But how do you raise those kind of girls?  I wish I had all the answers.  But Outdoor Guy and I are doing our part by fostering Wyokiddo’s curiosity.  We let Wyokiddo explore outside and have new experiences.  We visit zoos and museums.  We encourage her to talk to adults and ask them questions.  I try to take her questions seriously and provide serious answers.  I try not to shy away from tough questions about death or disease, instead providing an honest answer in a way I hope a 3 year old can understand.  It’s no small task, because I think she asks approximately 2,224 questions each and every day.  If I don’t know the answer, we ask someone that would know, or we look it up online together.  When she’s older, I’ll let her research answers on her own and report back to me.

We are also working to teach her resiliency.  I try to give her the freedom to mess up.  I let her spill milk so she can learn to clean it up.  I try to give her the freedom to get hurt, (in small ways, of course, we’re not talking about letting her play with a machete or anything.) Outdoor Guy will let her fall so that she can learn that she can get back up and go on.  It’s probably one of the hardest things I do as a mother, because my natural instinct is to control everything.  As she grows, I’m going to do my best to give her the opportunity to sort out her problems on her own before I swoop in and try to fix things my way.  But I know that giving her the opportunity to do things for herself will build Wyokiddo’s confidence, and teach her that she can overcome setbacks or small hurts.

God has blessed us with a smart, capable, beautiful little girl who abounds in confidence and curiosity.  May he bless her with parents who don’t mess that up.  And may we all have a little luck as we try to raise girls with grit.


Kids, parenting

Letting Go

It’s been a big week for Wyokiddo.  A few nights ago, we said good-bye to the binkies and she became an “official big girl.”  There were a few tense moments, lots of tears and a few restless nights of sleep.

Wyokiddo cried a little, too.

Of all of the transitions Wyokiddo has made, this one was absolutely the most difficult for me.  But it was time to pack away the pacifiers.  We gave her warning, provided an incentive and set a night.  I quietly sought advice from friends and family on how to best make the leap into binky free life.  Then we set our deadline.  On the official night, Wyokiddo packed her binkies away and she had a little cry.  And then I cried.   And cried a little more.  I probably laid on our bed for 20 minutes, tears trickling down my face while Outdoor Guy held my hand and tried not to laugh at his crazy wife.

I knew it had to be done.  It’s part of growing up, like giving up bottles and potty-training.  We had relegated them to nap time and bed time only.  But she wasn’t giving them up on her own, as our pediatrician suggested she might.  And Wyokiddo wasn’t attaching to some other object, like a stuffed animal or blanket.  Her comfort item was always her binky.  So it was time, especially before I had another David Beckham moment with my mother-in-law over the topic.

So I set the stage by telling Wyokiddo about the Big Girl Fairy, who would come collect the binkies when she knew Wyokiddo was ready to be an Official Big Girl.  We promised the Big Girl Fairy would leave her a special present to help her be brave and strong.  The day before, we wrote her a letter on behalf of the Big Girl Fairy, explaining it was time to be an Official Big Girl.

In all, she has been incredibly brave and handled it well.

I thought we might have a setback this morning at the library, when a little boy her age was bebopping around with one in his mouth.  I had fleeting visions of her knocking him down, grabbing the pacifier and making a break for it out the open front doors.

“He has a binky, Mama,” Wyokiddo told me, in a tone that was a more than a little accusatory.

I held my breath wondering if my last glimpse of Wyokiddo would be of her with a Pete the Cat library book in one hand, a handful of the kid’s hair in the other and a stolen binky in her mouth as she screamed down the Main, butterfly dress flapping in the breeze behind her.

“Huh,” I told her.  If 3 years of parenting has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes the best defense is a complete and total lack of commitment.

“He’s not ready to be a big kid like me yet,”  she said in the self-assured, matter-of-fact way that only kids can do.

It’s hard to remember Wyokiddo being this small. Or having blue eyes. Now the eyes and the binky are gone, and I’m left with a rompin’, stompin’ preschooler. We are blessed.

I see now that my reluctance to shed this last bastion of childhood was as much about my own need to keep her small and innocent as it was about not causing her any pain.  She’s growing up, getting independent and forming opinions and ideas that aren’t mine.  She isn’t a toddler anymore, but a preschooler, ready to tackle whatever life throws at her.  It was time for me to recognize that transition, too.

As we headed to the car, she took one last look at the boy with the binky and asked, “Do big girls get a special snack at the grocery store?”

Well played, my little one.  Well played.  I pray you handle all of these growing up moments with such confidence and aplomb.