I’m going to elaborate on a few points in regards to what I have learned on the elusive little years, but in case you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read a whole entry, here’s the cliff notes:
Life is short.
As I mentioned in my previous post, helping with Josh’s sisters gave me a sneak peak on what I have to look forward to when my own children reach certain ages. I also spent more time away from Ava than I ever have before. Each week that we lived in two worlds, I would come home to find an older, taller, and smarter child.
I have been so blessed to be able to stay home with my children for all of their little years. When Ava was a baby and I was still in college, a sitter watched her about 15 hours a week while I was in class. Last school year, she spent about 10 hours a week in preschool. This year, she spends about 16 hours a week in preschool. The rest of the time, she has been with me! (With the exception of church, photography gigs, dentist appointments, date nights, etc.)
And, even though I’m perfectly aware of how old she is, I have sort of been able to pretend that things aren’t going to change. That she’ll always be this sweet girl that’s completely dependant on me.
Then, I kept Josh’s sisters. And I got to see, firsthand, the challenges and drama that elementary school can bring. And it occurred to me: My baby is about to do this. Not in a few years. Not in 6 months. In August! She will be spending 5 days a week away from home, away from me. She will have a considerably larger number of voices telling what she should do and believe. She will be susceptible to a lot of factors that I will have no power to control.
She will be taking an important step in the process of growing up. And, truth be told, unless God leads us in the future to homeschool, she will probably never spend as much time at home again as she is spending now.
Bottom line is, my daughter’s little years are coming to a close. And I feel sad. And blessed. And amazed as I watch her to transform into a bonified big girl right before my eyes.
So, I realize these next 3 or so months are kind of a last hurrah for the little years. Pretty soon, I won’t have 3 preschoolers anymore; I will have 2 preschoolers and one elementary schooler, which means that our lives are going to start revolving around school hours and a school calendar.
And here’s what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to spend too much time stressing out over structure for Ava’s remaining 3 months of preschooler-hood. Our homeschooling fell to the wayside, naturally, when Harlie got sick, and I’m not particularly concerned with picking it back up. (Although we have picked back up on piano, she’s too good at it to let it go!) Tiff, who is already in the 2 preschoolers, 1 elementary schooler stage has been telling me all year that she doesn’t worry about structure for the little ones because, all too soon, they will be entering a world of little freedom. It wasn’t until the past month that I realized how right she is. So I’m going to relax during the day, because very soon, our days will be looking very different.
Here’s what I am going to do. Soak up as much time as I can with my princess.
Because this is what happened…
…while I was making other plans!