I will tell you that it was just yesterday that my daughter was born. My brain recalls with such clarity the entire labor and delivery process. The doctor’s instruction that it was time to push. The announcement that my baby girl’s head had made an appearance and that it was covered in a thick cap of downy hair. The moment her squishy body was placed in my arms. The second her dark, dewy eyes met mine for the very first time.
I remember everything about that life-giving day.
And there isn’t much—not at this point in my brain-stuffed-too-full life—that I can recall with such detail. So of course it must have been just yesterday.
But the calendar will tell you the truth.
It will tell you that the day I met my daughter face-to-face was 10 years ago. TEN YEARS. Which is practically a lifetime away from yesterday.
Because 10 years ago, I cradled her 8-pound body in my arms, adorning it in the cutest going-home outfit from the Target baby section. And yesterday, while out shopping for pants that by some miracle might cover her endlessly long legs, I realized that same baby girl is just one small step from transitioning out of the kid’s clothing section and into the junior’s section.
When she’s 10, you have a hard time not thinking of her as a baby, even though she’s somewhere between a child and an adult. She’s a little girl and a big girl all at once. There’s so much she needs to learn and so much she’s already perfected. There’s so much growth behind her and so much more to come.
When she’s 10, she picks out training bras and stuffed animals in the same shopping trip. She asks a hundred questions about the right bra and the right fit and what comes next, before skipping off for a playdate with her fluffy friends who are filled with polyester.
When she’s 10, she starts the day confident, unafraid, boldly stepping into whatever it might hold for her. But at night, the little girl inside her returns, tightly hugging her favorite stuffy between her forearm and her chest in the darkness of her bedroom.
When she’s 10, she takes pride in the depth of her knowledge, proudly passing it on to those younger than her, and often to those much older.
But in the quiet moments, with whispers of embarrassment, she asks big questions about periods, friendship, and God—an admission that she doesn’t actually know everything.
When she’s 10, she stands shoulder-to-shoulder with you, anticipating with excitement the day she matches or exceeds the height of the one who gave her life. But then, after a long day, she rests her head on your lap, comforted by your closeness as you stroke her hair.
When she’s 10, she can’t wait to grow up, but still emanates the joy and wonder of a child. The playground still evokes screams of delight and deep laughter. The backyard still doubles as some kind of vaguely exotic adventure.
When she’s 10, you look back and wonder where the time went. And then you remember it went to endless hours spent nurturing, loving, snuggling, and teaching. You acknowledge that it went to countless struggles, too, but none that weren’t eventually conquered.
When she’s 10, you miss that little girl your daughter used to be but are so grateful for the bigger girl who is still in the making.
In so many ways, it really does feel like just yesterday that my daughter was born. There are so many things that don’t feel all that distant. So much that I miss. So many things I’d do differently. So many moments I want to relive.
But there is still so much to look forward to.
So I’m going to let myself bask in the memories of days gone by, in the longing for just a little more time. But then I’m going to look at my daughter today and enjoy the version of her that’s right in front of me.
Because when she’s 10, you understand that she’s growing up more quickly than you thought possible, and you know there’s not a moment to waste.
When she’s 10, you no longer find yourself wondering who she’ll become because you’re already watching who she’s becoming. And dang, it’s beautiful.