Again, I am faced with the bittersweet time of year when I must acknowledge that my children are getting older. Avey’s birthday is this week. I think perhaps I am less depressed about losing her 4-year-old self than I was about her 3-year-old self. This was a rather tempestuous age. She somehow figured out that she does not, in fact, have to do everything we ask of her. And we realized somewhere among all of the potty training, socializing, basically teaching herself to read, and her love of preschool that we are not the beginning and the end and everything in between. We are a very important part of the framework of her life, but no longer are we as present in all aspects of her life. She is slowly growing more independent with each year.
I describe the process as “bittersweet” because, while it is difficult in some ways to see her grow, it also has its joys. It’s always a joy to gain some insight into how she views the world. For example, this week Avey and I were discussing health and sickness, or something along those lines, when she looked at me, sighed, and said, “I don’t want you to die until I don’t care about you anymore.”
A few days before that, she was negotiating a dessert with Kira. Kira had set a criterion for Avey to meet in order to earn the treat after dinner. Avey didn’t quite make it, and was naturally upset when she learned she had not earned the treat. She argued with Kira until it became clear that Avey had misunderstood the rules. Kira decided that she could offer a compromise. Avey wanted something big, Kira insisted it be small. Kira made her final offer – a chocolate chip – to which Avey tried to counter with her final offer: “Okay, how about this? One chocolate chip and the top of another chocolate chip.” We both thought it was so funny, she got her 1.5 chocolate chips.
And so, even though it is difficult to watch the years slip by, at least it is still endlessly entertaining to watch them get older.