Real Life Mama: Thoughts on turning 7

When I first started sharing my story with you all, my baby was not even 2 years old yet. And now, she is 7. Seven. I literally cannot believe that my youngest is already this old.

This little stink has been exactly that – a stinker – since her first year of life. Sleeping through the night was never really her thing. In fact, she still likes to crawl into bed with me during the wee hours of the morning. I am pretty sure she still hates sleep.

From being diagnosed with reflux at 7 weeks old to climbing out of her crib at 15 months old, she has always filled me with anxiety and worry. Twice we have experienced nurse maid’s elbow (which is typically because a parent yanks their child’s arm too hard) but was not the case with her: She just loved to hang on to my hands, climb up my body with her feet and do back flips. Over and over again.

We have seen the emergency room to put her arm back as well as a busted open head when she was jumping on her bed. There is never a dull moment with this child.

Ever since she has had an opinion about anything, she has had an opinion. She loves dirt, mud, worms, bugs – all of the adventure outdoors. Shoes are an option in her mind, and it’s enough for me to get her to brush her hair, let alone actually do anything to it these days. What she wears for the day, even if I put out clothes, is completely based on her style, regardless of if it matches at all.

But, honestly, every single outfit, she totally rocks. Even if she is that girl in the ballfield with her hair blowing in the wind and not tied back, she still looks adorable. And, well, shoes are overrated – think about how much “grounding” that child does. It’s no wonder her free place is in the dirt and close to nature.

And thanks to all those 2- and 3-year-old flips, she can now flip on her own bars in the backyard or throw some great moves on the trampoline. Oh, she still gives me all the anxiety and the worry from climbing trees and jumping off swings, but she actually amazes me in her abilities.

And all those injuries, they made her stronger — not more careful, ha — but stronger, nonetheless. From her battle wound when she fell on the cement to being able to shake off scuffed knees, she is one little warrior princess.

One day, I will get to sleep all night through every single night, but I will tell you what, I will sure long for the early morning snuggles with that girl. And even if I remind her it is too early to tell me her every thought at 4 a.m. as she chatters on and on, I will miss the sleep now, but I will miss the stories so much more later on.

There’s something about 7, or maybe just the past year and a half that we have had managing all the family changes, that has made this sweet thing my shadow. When I am not at work, she is by my side wanting to show off all of her abilities and trying to capture my full attention. Heck, she still follows me to the bathroom most trips just to sit outside the door and talk.

But I also know that she is 7, and those things, they aren’t going to last much longer. And while some days I just need a minute of space, I know that, soon, she may be like her big sis and tell me that she is too old to be snuggled to sleep. And my heart will probably break, again, in two.

So, for now, I am just going to soak up my sweet 7-year-old and her adorable toothless smile. I’ll close my eyes and cringe at her crazy daredevil adventures — and even look past her atrocious attire and homeless-looking hair to see that beautiful baby free of all the opinions of anyone else.

I am going to keep enjoying the countless stories and hang on to every single second that she is by my side and wants to be there, because that’s exactly where I want her to be.

These years, they are flying by, but the moments together are still plentiful. And I am going to keep living in all the joy and laughter (and even some worry) that this girl brings.

So here’s to 7, all the remarkable memories we have shared and all the amazing adventures yet to come. You will find me loving, supporting, maybe cringing, yet cheering on my baby with whatever the next years bring to table.

Happy birthday, Reagan Roo. I love you!