Tuesday, October 6, 2015

These Boots

So, it’s almost too perfect—one of our first mother-and-middle-schooler moments came while buying boots for the first dance.

S. had her first dance a little while back, complete with a scheduling conflict requiring backflips to get her there, a Western theme, and a last minute trip to buy boots. I have absolutely no idea what went down at the dance—she says it was fun—but I loved the dance preparation.

The kids go to the same school now and have the same schedule, so I have more time to work, but less time with each of them individually. Like all growing and changing, it’s a tradeoff. Now that I have a nearly normal work day, I’m trying to keep nights and weekends for family time. That is awesome! But I miss that quiet time and space to hear each of them, to focus fully, to uni-task, if you will.

So it felt great to go to the mall on a school night, compare styles of suede ankle boots, text Dad for an opinion and roll our eyes over his tactful but less than helpful advice, wear the new boots out of the store, and then grab a soft pretzel. Well, technically, I bought the pretzel for her, but I took tax. I always take a little for tax. Really, they need to learn.

And no, I don’t mind that she’s wearing boots just one size smaller than I wear or that, when she tried on a pair with two-inch heels, we were nearly the same height. I love that I can put my arm around her waist and walk with her, just as I have with each of my sisters—both now taller than I am.

After all, her new boots? They’re made for walking. They’re perfect for strutting, for giggling, for striding, for spinning, for exploring, and for walking out into the big wide world.

The amazing thing about the whole process turns out to be what she brings into our home. Yes, she’s taking her first steps on her journey toward independence—on her journey out of our home and away from us. Just as she should! But I never expected to feel so blessed by how much she shares with us as she does.

Just tonight, after A DAY, one of those days that had me counting minutes until bedtime, she said, “Can I play you something I figured out on the piano?”

I said, “Sure.”

She started to play and my heart stood still. She played beautifully, recreating Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by ear. As many times as I’ve heard that song, her performance opened my heart.

I love her. I love her heart. I love her gift. I love that she takes the things her dad and I give her, expands them, and gives them back to us.

I love that she’s growing up.

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