Taylor turned seven this past Thursday. She woke up to all of us singing Happy Birthday and giving her six gifts, with the seventh BIG one to be revealed when she got home from school. That morning was all about her and midday I surprised her at school with cupcakes for her classmates who showered her with handmade cards, birthday crowns and lots of hugs.
When she got home, she was even more excited because my husband had gotten off early to make sure she knew, she was the most important part of his day. We gathered around the living room and teased, tickled and kissed on the sweetest addition to our family as we uncovered her shiny new purple and turquoise “Big Girl” bike! She shouted, jumped up and down and hugged everyone as I recorded the special moment. Then my husband turned on the radio and slow danced with his Princess to Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ as I literally held back the tears. We ended her special day by going to her favorite restaurant, BJ’s, where she was served with her favorite dessert, a Pizookie, a hot skillet chocolate chunk cookie topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream!
Throughout the day, I kept saying to myself, I can’t believe Taylor’s 7!! Where did the time go?? I vividly remember holding her just yesterday, kissing on that precious face thanking God for a girl FINALLY!! And her she is, tall and beautiful, with a Princess personality and a tomboy style! I remember each of my kids’ birthdays, because for one, I’m a pack-rat so I literally keep everything! I mean EVERYTHING!! Old birthday-worn party hats, plates, napkins and balloons to remember what the theme was, a copy of the invitation, pictures of them opening each gift…see….everything! (Now imagine that times 5!! I literally have tubberwares filled with keepsakes!)
But what I don’t remember is feeling this way about the boys when they all turned seven. Perhaps because they were so close in age that once the twins turned seven, I knew I was going to go through all of it again the next year with AJ and the following year with Isaiah. But because Taylor is my youngest and my last (although my husband is definitely trying to have more…but uh, no!) I felt slightly heartbroken…unaware to anyone else, but man, she’s really growing up! And she’s my daughter, my only daughter…I’m just not ready yet. But all throughout the day I rejoiced with Taylor, and because of Taylor. I was happy that she was happy.
The days following, like any other day, when Taylor needed something she’d ask one of her brothers (or “my boys” as she likes to call them) to help her. She couldn’t reach a cup, she’d shout for Cameron. Needed help riding her new bike, she’d shout for Kahlil. Wanted to be pushed higher on the swing, she’d call Isaiah. Couldn’t find something, she’d ask AJ. It went unnoticed then, but now in hindsight, I remember the boys responding to her with some variation of, “Taylor you’re 7 now, so you have to do somethings by yourself or figure it out…”
And then it happened!
The night before last as I was tucking her in, she looked at me (as if she had been giving this some serious thought) and in one breath said, “Since I’m 7 now, I can tuck myself in and you don’t have to make my lunch anymore I can do it myself. And I think I can paint my own nails and I can ride in the front seat now because Isaiah said he did when he was 7 and AJ said when he was 7, he didn’t have to ask to chew gum, you just let him!”
My inside screamed, BOYS!!!!! They made Taylor realize she was old enough to do stuff on her own!
As ridiculous as that may sound, I was not prepared for Taylor’s “I can do it myself” list. This isn’t the Mommy-I’m-old-enough-to-dress-myself toddler phase, this is removing Mommy all together! I’m all about the boys growing up and becoming adults (please grow up so I can save me money on groceries and electricity) BUT, we’re talking about Taylor! The riding in the front seat, uh, wait til you’re 10, Isaiah was able to because he was freaking 5’2! The chewing gum part, I can give in to that…but I tuck her in, I make her lunch, I paint her nails! (Sigh)
So about five minutes later, we had come to an agreement. She would ride in the front seat when she was 10 (because now that I think back I’m pretty sure the boys were way too young to be in the front seat!) She could chew gum whenever she wanted to, but no more than 2 pieces a day. I would only tuck her in ONCE a week… because in my mind I was thinking Dad on Sundays, Kahlil on Mondays, Cameron on Tuesdays, AJ on Wednesdays, Isaiah on Thursdays and me on Fridays…so yeah on Saturday she can tuck herself in alone! (The joy of having a big family, everyone pitches in!!) She could make her lunch all by herself and we would polish our nails together.
So yesterday, she and Cameron walked to the store to buy her very own pack of gum, which she proudly smacked on all day! We painted our toenails pink and I did not tuck her in. Instead about ten minutes after she went upstairs, I told Kahlil to sneak and make sure she was good! Then this morning, she made her lunch! So the list of “I Can Do It Myself” is all Checked!
Taylor’s childhood has been an interesting one thus far. On one hand, I’ve introduced her to every PG-13 Spiderman, Batman, X-Men, Avenger movie there is, to which she can recall characters, plot, dialogue, and tell you how “tight” the special effects were like a teenager, but yet she’s never seen Lion King, Snow White or Finding Nemo. Even when I ask her if she wants to watch those, she proudly shouts “That looks dumb, that’s a baby movie!!” Then on the other hand, that I seem to be holding so tightly, I have yet to let her be independent with something so trivial as making her own lunch, chewing gum or tucking herself in.
The problem with being the youngest is that you’re exposed to everything that your older siblings are exposed to, but yet you’re still treated like a baby. So perhaps this summer I’ll keep giving in to Taylor’s independence and encourage her to be that big girl who really can do things all by herself!
I don’t know if Aaron’s gonna go for that though, last month he was talking about Taylor never leaving home and after watching animal planet he was wondering if they make tracking devices for people! Poor Taylor!
Psalm 144:12 May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.