I remember when I was a young(er) mom, I worried about my children getting older. I saw them get a tooth, take their first steps, learn new words, and outgrow clothes. It was so bittersweet, and it all happened so quickly. I loved getting to know their unique personalities, and I wanted to bottle up their cuteness and keep it forever! It seemed they were exploring the world, and how lucky I was to be by their side. Everything in life is more exciting with a child who is discovering it all for the very first time.
As the years have passed by, I’ve realized how this stage of parenting can be just as rewarding. I am not as sad to watch them grow. I think it may be because there is so much to still celebrate. Although their pudgy faces are gone and their legs are thinning out, they still have the same spirit and spunk they did as toddlers. I’m still learning… their needs, their preferences and the way they best respond to correction. Although I’m still learning, I do feel like I found a new normal.
My girls go away to school. They learn new things, they meet friends, they are influenced by others for a good part of their day. At the same time, they are also able to share their special light with others. This is what brings a new chapter of joy to parenting these girls. Others can see their worth, their talents, and their zest for life. I love them so much, and I’m proud to be their mom.
Carmen turned 7 over the summer and it seems like she grew up overnight. Ever since she was a small girl she was social. She was so verbal and could hold a conversation with anyone. Adults enjoyed being around her, and she passed out compliments so naturally. Her grandmas are crazy about her, and she likes to FaceTime them whenever she can. She is now asked to do a lot with school – once you learn how to read comes a new wave of learning. She’s navigating word problems, complex math equations, the meaning of NOT in an answer choice, and reading comprehension. I’m proud of her and how hard she works. I never worry about her behavior at school. She aims to please and is a good friend. She often asks her teacher if she can help, and she wants to be a teacher herself one day. She plays school at home with her sisters, and she knows right from wrong. I love visiting her at her school. I think her love language is quality time, and this 1-1 is really important to her. I think she likes to show us off to all her friends, too. Lately, she’s taken an interest in closing her eyes during her prayers and reading scriptures in her bed at night. She is concerned when others are not making good choices, and it stresses her out. She is pretty emotional, and we try to help her control and channel her emotions in a positive direction. Sometimes it takes a little down time. She’s lost nearly 10 teeth and they continue to grow in all crazy. She likes to do her own hair in the mornings and picks out all her own clothes. She enjoys playing with her American girl doll and pretends to run a hair salon shop. She is always writing me notes or giving me a big hug when I need it most. I love the way she wants to know “the plan,” and always has good input or suggestions. Just last Sunday a gentleman said, she sure is a lot like her mom, isn’t she… And it made me realize how important my example (and DNA) is as a mother. She is a joy, and I love her so much!
Nora is a bright light in my life. She’s unpredictable, and I love her for that. When she was little, she was always moving. She was full-on walking by her 9 month birthday and she hasn’t slowed down. She likes to move, and she has lots of energy! At home, you’ll find her bouncing off the couches or randomly squeezing someone just for fun. She is a natural athlete and likes to learn how to do new things. Nora started Kindergarten and she is excelling. She is reading like a champ, and when I asked her if she knew her high frequency words, she rattled them all off from memory! She likes school, and enjoys doing well. She gets a blue almost daily for excellent behavior. One day she made a chart where all her classmates sit on the rainbow mat. Her spacial awareness is impressive. Nora likes to make sure toys work. If something is broken, she’ll fix it. If the game needs to be played a certain way, she’ll make sure of it. She likes processes, lining things up, and building things. She just completed a complicated Lego set, and I’m impressed with her patience. She is an incredible sister. She plays well with Carmen and gives Afton attention as well. She is helpful with the boys, and is always the first to pop up if I need her to grab me something. She is still pretty quiet and reserved, especially in new situations. She has a small circle, and once you’re in… you’re in. She likes to be silly. As a baby she’d pretend to give us her pacifier and quickly take it back, giggling. She likes to tease, tell jokes and make us laugh. She has taken an interest in art and coloring, and she is so good. She went through a phase where she’d draw a happy face in random places, so we had to curb that… but she is an excellent artist. She went through her “how to draw” book in a week! She’s a good friend and sensitive to other’s needs. At school when I visit, everyone tells me, “I’m Nora’s best friend.” She loves to play in the sand at recess and her messy pants and worn-out shoes are evidence that she plays hard! She drives us crazy when she pretends not to like foods… but she’s growing up to be a beautiful young lady. I love her!
My little Afton Marie has my heart. She is 3, which is officially my favorite age. Actually, I can’t decide if I like 3 or 4 more… but either way, she’s right in the sweet spot. I love it mostly because she’s my little buddy. She gets to be at home with me, and I enjoy being around her. One thing is sure about Afton… she does her own thing. She paves her own way. She has a ton of personality, spunk and sass. I love that she can stand her ground and be her own person. I get dozens of compliments about her beautiful brown hair. She’s been so lucky since she was little. I remember seeing that brown hair and almost jumping for joy. I just think she’s so cute! Afton is a special girl. Her favorite thing to do is listen to music and dance. When she was a baby her go-to song was “Whip Nae Nae” and she’d do the moves before she was even 2-years-old. She still loves a good beat. She now tells Alexa to play songs all day long, and she likes to rock out in the car. She also enjoys doing puzzles and playing games. One thing about Afton is she gets on kicks and rotating obsessions. She went through a go-gurt phase, a pink dress phase, a High 5 phase, a Peppa Pig puzzle phase, Moana phase, kitty ear phase, popsicle phase, pancake phase, DQ phase and on and on and on… She was finding her voice and sticking to it! Afton is a good friend and social. She is bubbly and expressive. However, if she’s not feeling it… she’s not going to preform for anyone. If she’s tired, she’s tired. If she’s whiny, she’ll be whiny. I think that’s why she enjoys her daily nap and pink blanket. It’s not out of the norm that she’ll put herself to bed, which is a dream for a mom. After we ditched the pacifier, 6 months later she found her thumb. So here we are with a thumb sucker. What can you do… She tries to keep up with her older sisters, and sometimes it works and other times she pushes their buttons. My favorite is to listen to them giggling in the bath together. For some reason, bath time is their favorite. Afton loves to help in the kitchen. She puts the silverware away and likes to do jobs. She started in a small preschool and knows all her letters like a champ. She can draw a smiley face and she’s working on the letter A. If she could, she’d watch shows all day long. We try to mix in some of her Dr. Seuss books, and Go Dog Go is still a favorite. She has the funniest phrases and loves to snuggle. When I tuck her in at night, she always holds my face close and wants me to lay down. She has little understanding of personal space and can always snuggle into the smallest spot on the couch. She holds her brother’s hands constantly, and is a good big sister. I love her!
Here’s to my three beautiful daughters. Your special spirits and the things I want to remember forever.