And on the seventh day, God rested. Much like what a Mama gets to do when her kid turns 7. This weekend my Maylie Jane, my oldest baby, the one who made me a Mama, turns 7! And it is so interesting to me how much this age turns into a break for parents.
If I had to work from home with just my 7-year-old, we would be totally rocking it. My Maylie, she can pretty much do it all now. From washing herself, picking up after herself, reading any and everything, to even being able to get her own cereal — milk included — she is pretty much self-sufficient.
And you should see her on the computer. I didn’t even know she knew how to use a laptop, but the girl is killing her online schoolwork. As the updates from school have always shown, this girl is smart. But with the stay-at-home order and being able to watch her learn — seeing her little brain pick up different ideas and watching her put them into action — that is something that I never got to experience before. And it is beyond impressive.
Maybe it is the age of lucky number 7, but this girl gets it. Most days, she is up even before me trying to get a start on and knock out her schoolwork so she can do what she wants the rest of the day. Time management at its finest.
What I love so much about 7 is that she listens and understands. If/then statements actually make sense. If you clean your room and finish your homework, then you can have some extra tablet time. If you eat your dinner, then you can have dessert. It’s not a fight or argument, it is just that when you do the “if,” you get the “then.” Something a certain 4-year-old in our house is still trying to grasp.
While Maylie has always been very empathetic, it is at an even deeper level now. At dinner time, if I haven’t asked Paul about his day yet, Maylie beats me to it. Did he have a good day — was he frustrated with anything, did things go smoothly? And she genuinely wants to know how it went.
Our conversations can go deeper — more meaningful — less surface talk and actually diving into topics that she can understand now. Sometimes that is an amazing thing . And sometimes, at the age of in between being oblivious to it all and knowing all that is going on, it can be a little scary for her — especially right now. But we can talk about her fears — our fears — and I can remind her that I am always here to talk and that sometimes our fears seem scarier in our head than when we actually get them out in words. That’s something I may have been telling myself out loud at the same time I was telling her.
But as my oldest child, that is what Maylie has always been to me — a teacher. Whether she knows it or not, I have learned so much from this child in seven years. I remember when they handed her over to me at the hospital and sent me home. I was a wreck! I didn’t know what I was doing or how to be a mom. What if I made mistakes?
And I have — so many throughout the years. Like all oldest kids, she has been my guinea pig. I had no idea what I was doing then, and I am still winging it now. When I mess up, I tell her I am sorry, and the girl is a good forgiver. On top of that, she always makes sure she appreciates all we do for her making me just want to do more for her.
Continually, she makes me proud — and I always tell her when she does. Just the other day while I was working, she filled up the dish washer without being asked. She told me that she wanted to take something off my plate so I wouldn’t have to do it later.
Seriously guys, 7 is really good.
Right now, she is innocent enough to not be negatively influenced by all the world has to offer yet advanced enough to be trusted to take on additional tasks and experiences. She is kind, beautiful inside and out, a breath of fresh air amid the chaos of this pandemic and my best friend in quarantine.
She gives me a break — rest — when I need it most. And lucky number seven or not, I am not sure that she will ever know the extent of how lucky and blessed I feel to have her as my daughter.
Happy Birthday, Maylie Jane. I love you!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.