game changer

An almost seven year old, especially my seven year old, is a game changer. She adds a little extra sparkle and wonder to my world that I didn't even know was missing. Aside from her occasional spats, who she has become is just about the best thing that has happened to our family. I look forward to the sound of the bus wheels squealing to a stop every single day. And that is in no way an exaggeration.

If I could go back in time and visit the 28-year-old version of myself, I would say, "Take a few more deep breaths. You are going to love her to pieces soon. She is only crazy for a couple more years." And then the younger me would hopefully take a step back and be kinder to this gentle soul who fills our house with so much life. One would hope, right?

I was/still am (occasionally) so hard on Mya. I see everything she is and everything she is becoming, and I'm trying to help her take the correct steps to personal success, but sometimes I mess everything up along the way. She's been known to tell me a time or two, "Mom, I've got this. Please let me do it alone." And I stand back, gritting my teeth and biting my tongue as I watch her commit similar mistakes to what I did as a child. And sometimes, because I am not always the best mom, I yell at her. I tell her that "she should've listened to me because I knew what I was talking about" or that "I can't believe she would do that" (whatever that is at the moment), and I wait to shake my head at her until I know she's watching because I don't know the 3 year old in me thinks "This will make her understand." But really it just makes her sad, and I know it. And I have to apologize and grovel more than I'd like to admit to a public crowd. But the truly magnificent thing about her is that she forgives me, and she squeezes me tight, and she whispers she still loves me.

I learn so much from her, especially forgiveness.

Tonight as we walked the aisles of Target hand in hand, I thought how much our relationship had changed. I felt like every discussion before the age of 6 was always on some behavior issue, such as "Mya, please don't wipe your boogers on the couch" or "Mya, it is never appropriate to lie down in the middle of the store and kick and scream as a 5 year old," or my personal favorite "Mya, we never tell people they look like Frankenstein." Behavior talks are less frequent these days. (Those have shifted to the younger girls.) We talk about normal things, or at least what seems normal enough to a 6-year-old Star Wars obsessed girl. There's almost always a discussion about light sabers and Anikan Skywalker. There's usually a talk about God. There's a bit of confusion about boys and some boy named Javier. ;) There's always a few words about kindness. (She's a firm believer in being kind.) I love talking to Mya. I love the way her mind thinks. She reminds me constantly that children are innately good and pure and curious.

We drove home singing to Taylor Swift at the top of our lungs. When we reached out exit, she reached out and squeezed my hand. She yelled, "I'm having so much fun with you mom. You are the best."

So there you have it. Being a mom is a dirty job. It's grueling, and most days, I don't hear the thank yous I crave, but knowing that someone thinks the world of you, even the imperfect you, is a game changer.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley