Last night, as Punksin lay sleeping, I looked at her, astounded at the little young lady she is already becoming.  She has long graceful legs, balanced, I’m glad to say, with a beautiful face that still has remnants of baby fat.

I ached to hug her and hold her in my lap, to have her fit there snugly the way she used to, the way Pudding still does, just barely.

It is the question of every parent, at least once – why do they have to grow up?

Of course, there are the days like today, a day in which they drive you half mad with screaming and hysteria and histrionics and you can’t wait until they grow out of this ridiculous and annoying behavior.

But it’s all part of the parcel, isn’t it?

That’s why earlier today, when Punksin had to run to put something in the garbage, I restrained myself from telling her to walk like a lady.  She’s still at that point where she runs everywhere, to every task, with the same springiness in her step that I am now trying desperately to recapture through yoga (or alcohol, depending on the day.)  And I realized that one day, she will slow down and she will walk everywhere instead of skipping or hopping or running ahead – and I will miss it.

We often use “childish” as an insult in our society – “stop being childish” we say, sometimes even, rather ridiculously, to children.  We want evenness of emotion, balance, calm.  We want baby Buddhas.

Today, though, I looked and saw a different far kinder definition of “childish” – I saw unfettered spirit, I saw love of life, I saw unbounded and simple happiness.

I don’t want to take that away from her.  The world will soon enough.

So instead of trying to calm her, I try to calm myself to accept her.  I even go a little farther, trying less to make her be like me, instead trying to reclaim the part of myself deep inside that is like her, the part that sings on the potty toilet, that laughs at silliness and embraces it, the part that does things that aren’t necessarily daring but are, in their own way, unusual.  Like taking baths in the middle of the day. Or walking in the rain without umbrellas.  Or reading at night via flashlight.  Or giggling.  Or hiding from Daddy in a tent.

Because really – why not?

Embrace your inner child?  What a cliche.

And some of the best advice the world has ever heard.

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