Last week, my oldest was prattling on about something or other and I had the distinct feeling that I should put down whatever I was doing and listen because these days won’t last forever. She has always been my chatty one, telling me every last detail about her day. I’ve slowly begun to auto-focus on our conversations through the years. You know, responding at just the right times and seeming engaged when really I’m only listening at about fifty percent capacity. It has gotten so bad that she is used to having to follow me around the house as I do chores and finish up work while she talks and talks and talks.
For some reason, last week I got the feeling that I better start paying more attention because she is getting close to the age where she leaves the land of seeking my opinion and enters the Land of Peer.
I just didn’t know that would happen within days.
This week, our first of summer, it seems she spends every waking second with other people. If we go to the beach she is off with her girl friends, stopping only by my towel to let me know she’s changing locations from pool to snack bar to ocean. If we are home she is playing a board game with her brothers, watching television alone in the basement or reading in her room. Worst of all, some days she leaves in the morning with other people only to return in time to ask what’s for dinner then never sharing what happened while she was away from me.
All of a sudden her stories are gone. The steady sharing stream that has been my background noise since mid-2003 when she first spoke in sentences has gone quiet. It has been replaced my the eerie silence that comes when someone you love doesn’t need to be heard by you quite so much anymore.
This morning she asked when we’d do “Mommy School”:the time of the summer morning where we sit at the table and have time for writing or reading or math facts. I wasn’t ready this morning. I pushed her off and told her we’d start tomorrow.
Now, I’m desperate for her to ask again. I’m praying for Mommy School to last one more day, just so I can hear my little girl before she grows up too fast.
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