You know, I should’ve known. Should’ve been prepared for it. She’s grown tall, just like somebody pulled on the top of her head, straight up, because she’s going up up up, and not out. Her hair, when wet and combed, falls down past the middle of her back (not that you’d ever know it, because it’s constantly bouncing around her head in those crazy springs of awesome). She speaks eloquently, sings on key, can write the name “Tim” (who’s Tim, is what I want to know…), and count, and say her prayers even though we didn’t even know she has some memorized.
So I should’ve seen it coming. But she’s the second born. The “middle child.” And so, because of that, I didn’t.
But then today happened, and my littlest girl celebrated her last day of her first year of preschool. My little Quinn, who sucks her thumb when she’s tired and was oh-so shy a few short months ago, giggling in her teacher’s arms. My baby girl, the one who wouldn’t leave my side, running through the playground holding on to another girl’s hand, her friend. My Quinn, my shadow and my cuddler, lined up with the other children at a plastic tablecloth-lined picnic bench, watching her classmates as she ate her pizza and the top half of her cupcake and drank her water in big thirsty gulps. She asked me for a wipe. For the spare carrots and Pirate’s Booty I’d tucked into our lunch bag. And then she climbed onto my lap for a hug.
It’s just preschool, I know. But she’s Quinn, and she’s gone from baby to toddler to this vivacious little girl who’s about to turn four and oh my gosh it’s happening before my eyes and why won’t it slow down? She flew through this year before I could even blink my eyes.
“Mom! We’re growing up, already!” she declared. We were climbing out of the car after school. And all I wanted to say was, Yes, yes, you are, sweetheart. Just please, not so fast, though, okay?
Just give me a little more time.
The kids have told me that my half-jokey-but-really-I-was-seriousness declaration…
Quinlan walked into my office the day after Easter, pursing her lips like she does…