This last week has found me crying one minute because I'm overwhelmed (Bobby's first extended business trip since having my fifth child) and crying another minute because life is just so precious.  I'm still in the verge of crying still it seems, but because of the latter.

Among the firsts this week (like Rowan's looking up at me while nursing and grinning) has been one of the most incredible, indescribable experiences: watching my little girl become her own entity.

Of course I know my daughter.  I know everything about her, better than anyone else.  I know how she loves to chatter about everything she's thinking. I know she's the one that always leaves the scissors out because she's cutting and taping all the time.  I know that she is sensitive like her mother.  I know that she is brave like her father.  I know how she sees and interprets the world around her--I know because I've been on this journey of life alongside her.

And yet, taking her hand everyday through security into a new place with unfamiliar procedures and foreign spaces, hours spent daily backstage with and without me, and hours spent rehearsing and performing on stage, she's revealed a new, independent girl.  She's revealed a child that is growing up.


Watching her on stage for the first time in costume, curls in hair, and smile brought back a flood of memories.  The initial tears from tough practices, the constant correcting from her teacher in this highly competitive ballet school, the second guessing of continuing, the inner strength she mustered to continue, the thrill of being cast as an angel in the Nutcracker, and on and on...

There on the stage stood my little girl rehearsing.  She's becoming her own right before my eyes and brilliantly.

Caroline keeps a special homemade charm in her backpack when I can't be with her backstage or in the audience.  It is simple but hopefully meaningful.  Lavender pressed into the clay on the back to remind her of mommy and "my angel" on the front.  When I can't be there the charm takes my place.  She will know I'm so very intently thinking and praying for her to do her best and be happy when she's on her own.

 I never knew so deeply before I had children the love story that exists and grows between a mother and her child.

 Like I said, indescribable.

the sleepy time gal