Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids.

She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday. 

Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms. 

But today, I’m rocking a princess.

The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and chairs and big-kid slides, flashing a proud, toothy grin as I hurry over to rescue her again and again. She’ll run headlong into adventure (and danger), flex an ever-expanding vocabulary, develop a love for noodles and her siblings, utter disdain for anything not her own idea. 

Her personality will blossom right before my eyes. 

But today, I’m rocking a princess. 

Before long, she’ll pluck boxes of crayons and wide-ruled notebooks from the back-to-school shelves, checking each supply off neatly from the list clutched in her hands. She’ll pack her heart-covered backpack, tie her shoes carefully (double knots) and dutifully smile by the front door for the photo I’ll insist she take. She’ll scamper down the elementary sidewalk without so much as a backwards glance, waving to friends she’s missed all summer. She’ll love math and devour chapter books.

A brand new world of discovery will be opening up before her. 

But today, I’m rocking a princess. 

She’ll continue growing and changing at lightning speed, and the little girl in pigtails will give way to a young lady in (not too much) makeup. Her face will broaden along with her desire for independence. She’ll test a newfound, hormone-fueled attitude on more than one occasion, learning just how far Mom and Dad’s boundaries will stretch (not far). Everyone she meets can’t help but notice her quiet confidence, gentle grace, ever-present kindness. There’ll be a boy. Friday night lights. Friendships she’ll treasure the rest of her life. 

Her future will be rife with promise and opportunity, hers for the taking. 

But today, I’m rocking a princess. 

Sooner than I dreamed possible, she’ll be grown. Intelligent, beautiful, and steadfast, she’ll set lofty goals—and crush them. She’ll draw others into her orbit with ease, giving and earning respect and value. There’ll be the boy. She’ll learn sacrifice and love and partnership in new, life-giving ways. One day, she’ll rock her own newborn daughter against her beating heart, breathing in the scent of a mother’s hopes and dreams. 

Love and beauty and the fullness of life awaits. 

But for today, I’m rocking a princess.

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Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom