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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Skinned Knees and Wild Hair

Skinned knees and wild hair. If you were a perfume that is what I would name you. The scent would be of the sweetest season of childhood. The perfect blend of suntan lotion, melted ice cream and summer rain. When people would spritz it on their wrists they would feel... free. Free of worry. Free of care. Free of feet touching the ground.

The thing is though, I'm just not sure there would be a bottle large enough to contain you. I hope there never is. You aren't the type that should ever be contained.

There is so much beauty in your freedom. Wild curls always untamed, dirt under fingernails, grass stains on knees that have fallen tirelessly from legs that want to run faster than your feet can catch up. You are a girl that loves the fall as much as the twirl. My favorite part is that you get right back up to do it again. And again. You have earned your grass stains.

I do wish that I could bottle this moment. This place in time of you belly down on a swing with laughing eyes and having nowhere you have to be but the backyard. I know I will blink and you will be boarding the schoolbus with freshly brushed hair, matching unstained clothes and shoes that don't have glitter on them. You probably won't even want to wear a purple tutu to the grocery store any longer.

I learned how quick little girls grow by watching your older sister. I wanted all of those sensible things too early for her. All of the control. All of the perfectly combed pigtails. All of the time wasted battling over me choosing the coordinated outfits for preschool instead of giving her the freedom that she wanted deserved. I thought everything had to appear so together because I presumed that it was a direct reflection of me. Of who I was as a parent. I was too caught up in what other people thought of me to let her fully express her own thoughts and style. I didn't realize how much more rewarding it is to let kids just be who they are instead of trying to mold them into a smaller, better version of myself.

I learned. And luckily for me, (I hope) it wasn't too late. Because she was four and Niko was two when you and your twin brother came into our world. Something had to give. Anyone who could dress themselves quickly became my favorite people in the house. The more mismatched the outfits were, the happier her and I both felt. Ballerina costumes and anything with zebra leggings were all the rage. Somewhere in a disorganized box, I even have a picture of her wearing a pale pink sundress with the January snow falling high behind her.

In a few too short weeks, she will be boarding the bus in a matching-much-analyzed-perfect-for-the-first-day-of-third-grade outfit. After we kiss her and Niko goodbye, you and Micah will walk back down the hill to our house by my side for one last bittersweet year. I vow to you this: I will soak in this essence of childhood as much as possible while it is still within my grasp. It won't be long now until I have to set you free. But until then I will watch you be my wild child, laughing, swinging and getting up again in an absolutely crazy fun little number. And I will be there absorbing you in, learning more than could ever be contained.


  1. Love this...I hope you read my recent blogpost, Be Patient let him Ponder Picasso...because it is so in tune with this thought (the Calm the Fuck Down parenting method) letting kids be kids and be free to experience and embrace the world! Keep rockin' I love this one!!! My boy currently smells of what we call a puppy dog..the little boy sweat trapped on him from a full on day of playing outside, catching bugs, fishing for tadpoles ...just being a every minute!!!!

  2. Love it! You captured the essence of that girl, her delight in all things! And a lesson for all of us in living each day with joy!

  3. Sophia is my wild grandchild; and all the others are free spirits in their own way. Thank you for letting them be what they will be, you will look back and be glad you did. Love you all.