I heard a sharp scream from my middle daughter back in her bedroom. It was loud and long enough that I knew it was more than just a small bump or tumble. It was a real hurt cry. So off down the hallway I went.
As I was walking, there was a sudden silence. You know the kind… the silence before the real scream. That sudden silence made me pick up the pace down the hallway, and what I saw as I rounded the corner into the bedroom took my breath away.
It wasn’t my daughter lying on the floor… it was both of my daughters lying on the floor. And it was what my oldest daughter was doing that was so shocking. And so beautiful.
There she was, laying on the floor with her little sister in her lap with her arms around her. She was patting her on the back, brushing the hair back from her sweaty forehead and she whimpered in her arms. She was shushing her in a quiet voice, “It’s OK, I’m here.” My middle daughter was completely secure in the arms of her big sister.
And that was the moment when I realized that my baby had become a little mama. I don’t think that there was a specific “moment” when it happened, rather it’s something that she’s been transforming into overtime.
It happened on the living room floor while we sat and talked and folded dozens of towels during nap time.
It happened when she eagerly learned how to feed her baby brother sweet potatoes.
It happened when I taught her how to crack an egg into a mixing bowl.
It happened when she sat on the floor of the bathroom and patted my back while I threw up from her siblings growing inside of my womb.
It happened when I was recovering from my c-section and the baby was crying, so she ran over and gave him his pacifier. It took her about 10 tries to get it stuck in there, but she finally got it. I’ve never seen a child more proud.
It happened when instead of shaming her sister for a spill, she helped her wipe it up and didn’t think twice.
It happened when she lifted her shirt up to nurse her baby doll while I was doing the same with her baby sister.
It happened when she changed her baby brother’s diaper… and got sprayed.
And it happened on the floor of her bedroom that afternoon when her little sister fell off the bed.
My baby had become so much more than just a little mama . She had become a nurturer – an embodiment of love and encouragement, empathy and compassion. And as I stood there in the doorway that afternoon, I couldn’t help but get a glimpse into the future of the kind of big mama she’s going to be when she grows up. And if my opinion counts for anything, she is going to be one incredible mama to my grand babies someday.
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