It is a dark morning with the first rays of light just making their way into the kids’ bedroom. I quietly pull Swee’Pea out of her crib while TheMonk sleeps. I motion to her brother and whisper for her to be quiet. She nods in understanding and I carry her to the closet where she picks out her own dress to wear. I cannot help but notice, as I help her out of her pajamas and into her pretty pink Hawaiian dress in the quiet of the morning, that my little girl is not so little any more. Her maturity in the moment – understanding the importance of staying quiet, her ability to choose her own clothes, even the way her face looks as the shadows of the dawn stretch across her beautiful face, reminds me that she is, indeed, getting older. I lament this out loud as I sigh and whisper to her while nuzzling her soft cheek, “Swee’Pea. Please stop getting bigger. I am going to miss my little Swee’Pea…”
A few nights later, I am getting Swee’Pea ready for bed. I pull her pajama top over her head and as her face comes into view I am greeted with a serious look upon her face. A face too serious to match our usual bedtime routine.
Our eyes meet and I try and cheer her up with a bright smile. Swee’Pea however, with a face now tinged with sadness, ignores the smile and blurts out a melancholy statement that I cannot ignore… “Daddy, you said I can’t get bigger…”
I suddenly remember our early morning conversation from earlier in the week and I realize how my comment must have really bothered her. How foolish of me to hint to my daughter, who loves me dearly and certainly wants to please me, that she can no longer get bigger. How dare I plant a seed of remorse knowing that she is getting bigger when her father doesn’t want her to. I silently chastise myself for being so obtuse and I quickly think of words that can help explain my feelings in a way that she’ll understand.
“I’m sorry, Swee’Pea.” I say. “I know you are going to grow up. It’s just that I love every minute with you and I know I will miss you when you grow up to be a big, big girl like your mommy. I know you are getting bigger, Swee’Pea and it’s okay.”
I know my words have made an impact because her frown begins to fade. With a noticeable mood improvement in her demeanor she joyfull and loudly exclaims…
“Yeah, because someday, I’m going to get married and have a baby!!”
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