Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Not Almost Seven

Abby and I were in the kitchen recently talking about the upcoming summer. We talked about next round-up of family birthdays, including hers. I told her that I couldn't believe that she would be seven this summer.

Because I busied myself washing dishes as we chatted, I couldn't see her incredulous stare. Her stare finally cut through my dish washing and I caught it, peripherally. I looked up from the sudsy sink.


"Yes, sweets?"

"Ummm, I'm going to be eight this summer."

Five little letters. One small word. Eight.

That little word smacked me and left a stinging swath. That five-letter-word sucked all the air out of the room. Abby continued to watch me. The drop in my gut validated that what she said was true.


I looked at her, unable to disguise my slight confusion--and luckily, she seemed to get a kick out of my mental lapse. I really, truly thought she was turning seven. Interestingly, I didn't think she was six. She's seven, turning seven. Of course! Seven turning seven makes all the sense in the world.

My mind had reached over and hit its own little pause button.

But my mental pause didn't reach any further than my mind. Time spinning, spinning, spinning. Recklessly this time. Time, moving with her own motive, laced with her own prerogatives. I stared at Abby. Blond, wind-whipped pieces of hair escaped her pony tail and framed her transitional face. Angularity had crept in and replaced once full, round cheeks. Adult teeth crowded her mouth. Her questioning blue eyes sparkled while showing that their particular shade of innocence had shifted just a tinge.

This permutation of time's passage left me reeling and raw. The usual questions surfaced, as if their rhetorical repeat would magically make my mental pause button effective:

When did this happen? Eight? Didn't I just rub Desitin on her diaper-rashed tushy? How did I miss the culmination of moments leading us here?

No longer a little girl.

Almost Eight.