Little Friend, changing

Little Friend lifted her foot to the level of her hip and pistoned it back down to the floor.  Repeatedly.  I could have planted rows of corn in the furrows of her brows and hung Christmas ornaments off the downward branches of her mouth.  “Nooooooo!  I want the school bus by myself.”

All parental eyes (or realistically at least one-third of them) in the preschool open house gazed wonderingly at my complete inability to stem the angry tide rushing forth from my child.  Their children, meanwhile, earned angelic haloes by playing nicely with one another, sharing school busses, books, dolls, and the like.

Little Friend, she is a changing.

Somewhere around the time that naps became infrequent, these temper flares, pouts, whines, and hmphs became permanent parts of our days.  I’m exhausted from entertaining this crowd.  What happened to my low-maintenance angel?  She’s not just tarnished her halo, it’s actually gone suspiciously missing.

She’s three-and-a-half, and while I didn’t know in advance to be afraid of this age like I was warned about the twos, I am afraid.  Very, very afraid.

She insists on wearing dresses.  Without pockets.  And only the absolutely necessary number of buttons.  And that’s after trying on six-negotiated-down-to-two dresses.

She doesn’t think most of the food I make “looks good” before we even get to the “tastes good” stage.

She wakes up with nightmares more times a night than the baby wakes up to eat.

Little Friend, she is a changing.

I’ve been thrown, perplexed, unseated, uncertain about all these temperamental changes.  I’ve been wondering where my Little Friend has gone and what sort of foot-stomping, humphing creature has replaced her.

Then one morning at the beach, everything changed.

Little One and I went out for an early morning stroll while the rest of the family slept.  Returning home, I spied two figures in the distance, a dad and daughter.  My mind first recognized the slope of Big Friend’s shoulders, the unique stride of his walk.  But I doubted myself, because he was holding the hand of an almost two-year-old.  A tiny sprite of a girl whose fluffy head, pint-sized legs, and infinitesimally small wrist certainly couldn’t be the going on thirteen year old whirlwind in a bottle that is Little Friend.

The two-year-old was Little Friend.

And in those moments before recognition, when my distant daughter was a stranger to me, I was given the incomparable gift of turning back time, of seeing my child in her freshness and innocence and unspoiled beauty that has been cataracted from my sight by the wear and tear of mothering.

Little Friend, she’s a changing…but not all that much.

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9 Comments

  1. Tara Cole said:

    Thank you for this glimpse. My two year old is almost three, and I’ve heard “beware.” Thank you also for the reminder to see try to see this little soul through my eyes of first love and not always my mom weary eyes.

    August 31, 2012
    Reply
  2. Jo said:

    You’re right–not all that much. Inside that rough “4 year old” exterior lies the beautiful gem of a daughter who is metamorphosing into an unspeakable wonder. I know.

    August 31, 2012
    Reply
  3. Nancy said:

    She is her own person, her mother’s daughter, and a joy to all. Like you, we just need to see her as God sees her. What a precious child she is.

    August 31, 2012
    Reply
  4. Meredith said:

    I’m so impressed with how much you can write in 5 minutes! :)

    Lovely post.

    August 31, 2012
    Reply
  5. Kara said:

    Thank goodness I’m not alone in the “3-going-on-13” phase! Determined, knows what she wants, and all together lovely. I love Little Friend!

    August 31, 2012
    Reply
  6. Beautiful post! Stopping by from 5min. Friday, Blessings on your day!

    August 31, 2012
    Reply
  7. Jenna said:

    Three was crazy-harder than two for us, with both boys. It gets better. Or, maybe, different.

    September 3, 2012
    Reply

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