I imagined it in reverse.
I thought my baby would be the one telling me that she was the Big Girl, while peddling at breakneck speeds on her tricycle to get to the corner where she would inevitably halt and turn, breathlessly smiling that smile that says, I have far outpaced you, woman! And with each step closer to my trike baby at the corner, I would be thinking, I have spent whole afternoons watching your glacial progress in controlling your popsicle stick toes, waiting to see if they would push that green toy car a microscopic nudge farther.
But instead, she is the one that is resisting it.
"I not a big gahl, Mommy. I a wittle gahl."
And I have to agree with her.
Until she asks me, "Mommy's a big gahl?"
Reminding me that I am, yes I am a big gahl, honeypie. In more ways than one.
The Big Girl/Little Girl tug-of-war is profound and painful. Girlhood is so fleeting and there are times I know that I grew up too fast, partly because I willed it and partly because I had no choice. And there are times when the air is warm and musky and I want to ride my bike around another suburban cul-de-sac with a few wilting dandelions flipping around in the plastic wicker bike basket while I sing some hybrid song of lyrics I am spontaneously inventing and lacing them with Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy."
There is so much sweetness from my girlhood that I am willing like an heirloom to my daughter, but like any heirloom, it is all so fragile and cannot be replicated by any modern day tools. My little girl has to ride her own bike and pluck her own dandelions and write her own songs, mingling them, I hope, with a few notes I have taught her, which someday she might know by heart.
Shots from that very fun wedding we attended where Baby Girl thunderjacked the Daddy/Daughter Dance.
St. Paddy's 2010