This week, Maylie turns 9.
There are a lot of birthdays that hit a Mama’s heart differently, like the first birthday when they are no longer a baby anymore. Or 5 years old when they are an entire hand. And I suspect when they get to double digits and hit the 10-year mark. And probably 13, when they hit the teenage years. As well as 16 when they can finally drive.
I never imagined that the 9th birthday would be a hard one.
That is, until I came to the realization that nine is half of 18. That’s really all the time we fully have with our babies. Half of my child’s childhood is over.
Ugh. And guys, I am not OK with that.
Especially since I swear it was just yesterday when they placed that baby girl in my arms and my dream of becoming a mommy came true for the first time. It seems like only hours have passed since she said her first words, took her first steps and was finally potty trained. Seriously, only minutes have passed since she started kindergarten and learned how to ride a bike. Only seconds ago, she was finally allowed to cross the street by herself and started reading chapter books.
And yet, now she gets up to her own alarm, pours her own cereal, takes showers instead of baths and reminds me that she doesn’t need me to cuddle her to sleep — she’s older now.
It’s nine years older than one of the two best days of my life. Nine years of my girl hanging around as my little shadow, talking my ear off, singing the lyrics to every song all day long, making me proud watching her interact with her friends – sharing toys and secrets, encouraging each other and lifting each other up. Nine years of dance parties while we clean the house, or just random dance parties because it makes us smile. Nine years of one more kiss, Mommy.
And I honestly cannot even think about how fast those nine years went and how I only have nine more left with her before she is officially an adult without wanting to break down and cry.
I know it is so cliché, but time seriously goes so fast. Even during the baby/toddler stages, some of the days were long but the years flew by. And once school and extracurriculars started, the time just went faster, and there is so much less time spent together because everyone has to be somewhere by some time, and all of sudden it is bedtime.
As I sat here this week reminiscing about the last nine years and freaking out that I only have nine more years left with her, I had to change my mindset from only nine more years to I still have nine more years.
Nine more years to continue to show up for my girl every single day. Nine more years to see that sweet face every morning and sneak into her bedroom just to sneak in a sleeping pic or simply watch her dream every night.
Nine years to continually build her up, remind her that she is loved unconditionally, articulate to her my admiration of her growth through challenging times, not let her forget how proud I am of her when she does her best even if the outcome was not how she wanted it to be.
Nine years to pray together and pour Jesus into her, to watch her act in ways that God smiles at and help her recognize times when she could have been more like Jesus. And then forgive her for those times, just as she forgives me when I have one of those days when I need the grace.
Nine more years of karaoke in the car listing to our favorite playlist and belting out the words to our favorites songs. Nine years of dance parties – even though I know they will become even more embarrassing to her, and some days, as she grows older, she may not want to join in, but I will still be there grabbing her hand and pulling her onto our dance floor in the kitchen.
Nine years may have flown by faster than I ever would have imagined, but I know that I still have nine more left. And while there will be ups and down and in betweens, there is still so much time and so much more loving to do on my first baby girl.
Here’s to the next nine years. May we continue to grow together and share in all the wild laughter and love that this life has to offer. And may time slow down just a little bit along the way.
Happy 9th birthday, Maylie Jane. I love you so much!
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 daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.