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My Little Girl is Growing Up

Eva Amurri shares a personal post about her daughter Marlowe

To be honest, in my six+ years of parenthood there haven’t been THAT many realizations of the passing of time that knock my socks off.  I find that I’m definitely in awe of how quickly the kids are growing, but I’m mostly happy and relieved to see it happening. I do tend to have a little mini-meltdown on the eve of each of my children’s First Birthday…but otherwise, I can keep my nostalgia and emotions in check.  But recently, that has all gone out the window with Marlowe starting to grow up.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I write letters to each of my children on their birthdays. You can find the last couple of letters to Marlowe HERE and HERE…and it doesn’t take long to realize that I’m generally awed and inspired by my little girl. She is all of the best parts of both her father and myself…an extroverted Life-Of-The-Party, with a heart of gold. For me, she’s always represented both the pure joy of childhood and also the deep curiosity and longing to know more. She is my little fearless creature. Her questions blow my mind sometimes, her laugh is infectious, and I’m not at all kidding when I tell you that she’s my most favorite person to spend time with.

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But recently, she’s been really growing up. All the things I love about her haven’t changed at all…but they’ve begun to take on the glow of a girl who is starting to turn into the person she will be far beyond the walls of her childhood home. As a Mother, I’ve been finding myself watching her recently as she navigates the world, or has quiet moments to herself.  There’s a maturity developing, a different sense of things. She is so much more confident and self-possessed than she ever was. My heart is so conflicted. On one hand, watching her start to grow and mature makes me SO excited for the years to come—when we can truly adventure together and I can learn more and more about the intricacies going on in her mind just by talking with her. On the other hand, I feel time and memory slipping away noiselessly…how long now will I remember the feeling of her chubby, sticky baby hand wrapping itself around my fingers, or the weight of her asleep in my lap?

And then, she lost her first two teeth, and I started to panic. Or rather, she bravely kicked them out with a piece of floss duct-taped to a soccer ball.

 

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A post shared by Kyle Martino (@kylemartino)

And in an instant, it was clear that Marlowe is no baby. I know other children have already lost teeth by six years old, but seeing my baby girl with a gap in her little mouth has been a total mind trip for me. Between that and her recent growth spurt, I am fully expecting her to pick up a briefcase on her way out the door and toss me some cash to order pizzas for dinner. The changes are unnerving. And maybe she’s grown up a little too much in the wake of the world’s upside-down turn this year. Or maybe I’ve grown more sentimental and more fearful of time passing me by. Whatever the case, my Mama Heart is more tender than ever these days.

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I’ve started trying to create more moments for us to have together. I feel a desire to bear witness to this transition…to understand it more, to study it, to beg it to be gentle on me. Of course, there is no changing or willing it. Growing up, and bearing witness to it, is one of life’s greatest gifts. But how bittersweet! Some weekends when she comes back from Kyle’s house, it’s so shocking how much older she looks to me that I feel tears come to my eyes. I know this is the part when time begins to move quickly.

Every time she throws her arms around me, I’m grateful. When she wants an extra snuggle at bedtime, I feel lucky. I know these things won’t last.  And for my part, I try to rejoice in her growth. I want her to always feel that her preparedness to fly is my life’s work. Her independence is the only feather in my cap I could ever need. But it doesn’t mean that when she spreads her wings there won’t be tears with my smile, or longing in my heart for the baby days. The days I used to wish would go by more quickly (Damn you, perspective!!!)

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And I can’t help but smile when I leave her room at night and hear her call out to me: “Enjoy your evening, Mom! Sleep well!” Because that Little, Big, silly, sincere, and sweet Girl…that’s my best friend.

I would love to hear from other parents who are noticing their kids growing up recently. I can’t be the only one noticing all these changes! Please share in the comments below.

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Photographs by Julia Dags | Happily Eva After, Inc. © 2020 All Rights Reserved

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27 Comments

  1. Julienne says:

    SAME. My 6 year old girl just lost her first tooth and I had the very same experience. It was a shock to my momma system. It all happened too fast 😭 my girl is my best friend, too. I feel this post!

    12.10.20 Reply
  2. Rian Whalen says:

    Thank you for putting my feelings into words! My daughter is also six years old and I am astounded at how grown up she seems over the last six months or so. She is growing like a weed and I think the progress she is making in the 1st grade with her reading and writing has also made her more mature. The conversations we are having these days are so thought provoking and wonderful. I love hearing about her world view. Being her Mama is my absolute favorite!!

    12.10.20 Reply
  3. Sarah Elliott says:

    I loved this article. My son is 14 and is at the age of grunting responses to questions and not wanting to spend any time with me at all! Always in his room! Totally normal I know, I did the same at that age! I have cried a lot over the past few months, in private, and worried that I haven’t been the mum I thought I would be, not patient enough, not played with him enough, don’t do enough with him, didn’t talk to him enough etc etc. But he is at the age of only wanting to be with his friends which of course is healthy and normal but I mourn the baby/child he was and wish I could have that time back. Maybe I would be a better mum if I could have the time again! But he is growing into a confident, kind, intelligent young man and I can only think I must have done something right! I couldn’t be prouder of him 😁. Anyway, your children are gorgeous and I love watching them grow all the way from the UK! Take care and Merry Christmas xx

    12.10.20 Reply
  4. Katherine Santana says:

    I definitely feel the same way you do ! My two boys who are 15 and 12 are growing and changing by the day. They have officially passed me, their voice is getting deeper, their bodies are changing into teenagers, they have more hair on their body. It’s a beautiful thing to see the transformation but I realize I no longer have young children but two teenage boys. I ask myself where did the time go. At this age they don’t really like to take pictures for me. So every chance they allow just one picture I run to get my camera. I always tell them pictures last a lifetime. It’s so important to me to catch every milestone on camera. They will understand as they get older I guess lol.

    12.10.20 Reply
  5. Gina says:

    My babies are 2.5 and 7 months, and I have been feeling the exact same way. I just want to freeze time. I think being home together has made me hyper aware of every change in their development and personalities, and it has made me super emotional. You are not alone! Our love as mothers, and this whole crazy journey, bring us together.

    12.10.20 Reply
  6. Laura says:

    Wow… Wow… Wow…. I felt this in all the feelings 😭 I am a single momma to a fabulous 5 1/2 year old little lady… And she has her first wobbly tooth… And I too am feeling all these things! I just cannot comprehend how my little bubba is now growing and changing so much, she too is my absolute favourite person.. And I love our moments together and I soak them right up because in a few years she will no longer cherish mummy time as much as she does now 😭😭 but I feel you momma I’m right there with you xxx

    12.10.20 Reply
  7. Shauna says:

    I’m right there with you! My oldest is 7 and she seems so grown up to me lately. Since the pandemic, she’s starting talking to her friends on messenger kids. I feel like I have a teenager some days when she’s in her room chatting away. Luckily she’s still as sweet and kind and loving as ever, but I find myself begging time to slow down. It’s tough.

    12.10.20 Reply
  8. Calie Spence says:

    Hi Eva,

    Your post made me cry! I completely feel ya mama. My daughter is 4 and I am in the process of preparing to register her for Kindergarten. I am so so so excited for this next adventure for her (and us) but my heart is breaking a little bit. I watched a video the other night of her singing a couple of years ago and I melted. Her jumbled words and bigs smile just knocked me over. What a gift it is to be a mama! I needed to read this post because it has charged me to do the same. Thank you for this space you have created. It means so much to me to be a part of your community. I’m sure you get this a lot, but I wish we knew each other in person because I’d love to be friends (in my mind we kinda are. LOL) I think our bebes would have lots of fun. All the best to you and your family, always. Happy Holidays!

    Calie ❤️

    12.10.20 Reply
  9. Marissa Ross Mills says:

    Thank you for sharing! This hits HOME! My daughter is just a month older than Marlowe, Serena was born 7/9/14. You truly gave space for the sad (dare I say grief) feelings that come along with proud feelings of growth! I’m glad I’m not the only one tearing up with the smile! It’s a lot to reflect on and I wonder if the mother we were at 6 months, one year or even 2 years would have this perspective? This new wisdom. It’s very bittersweet. Thanks again!

    12.10.20 Reply
  10. Kayla says:

    Hi Eva. I have a son that turned 6 this past summer and I feel the exact same way. Every day he surprises me with his knowledge, kindness and how grown up he is. He is my only and I just want to keep him small forever- but I am so proud of the little person he is becoming. But I’m with you- all the feelings lately! Thank you for your words!

    12.10.20 Reply
  11. Emily Peterson says:

    I have a soon-to-be 9 year old girl who is the sweetest, but sometimes I see the glimmer of a teenage girl in her, and it makes me have all the complicated feelings. Of course we want our kids to grow into lovely people, but I love the little girl she is and am worried she will start being mean to me like I was to my mom as a teen!

    12.10.20 Reply
  12. Linsay says:

    I can so relate to this. My son is almost the same age as Marlowe (and daughter is just a few months younger than Major). They are KILLING me with their maturity these days. It’s so confusing to feel gratitude for their growth and sadness at it to!

    12.10.20 Reply
  13. Jane says:

    I have had the same feelings at different milestones, now the biggest is coming up for my 17 year old, learning to drive, applying to uni, the prospect of her going away to school(we encouraged sleep we camp which was emotional every year). I love seeing person she has become but yearn for that little person who liked to have mommy/daughter sleepovers and days out together (she still likes me enough to ski and have a day out). Remember we give them roots and wings.

    12.10.20 Reply
  14. Marla says:

    Your beautiful accounting of your sweet daughter surely rings true. As a CT. mom to 5, my best advice is, cherish every moment. Take tons of pictures and videos, for these are precious memories, that cannot be recaptured. Marlowe is that special little girl, most certainly the reason you had more! I want you to know, what you see today is most certainly, who she will always be. An angel! Like you, when I think about what life will be like when mine are grown, I start to cry. I tell my children everyday, how much I love them, that they’re my everything and that I miss them already and they’re not even near going to college. I hope you know, you’re doing a great job! You’re a fantastic mom! And all of your hard work will shine brightly in and through them. Raising children in my opinion is the most important job we will ever have. Thank you for posting this! I loved it. Happy Holidays. xx

    12.10.20 Reply
  15. Dana says:

    Hi!
    My daughters are 11 and 14 and when my 14 year old turned 5 I cried. It felt like she was hurtling into a new era as an elementary school girl and not my little little kid.

    For me this feeling only hit at certain ages, maybe when I saw them moving quickly into a new era.

    When my 11 year old graduated elementary in June that felt similar. She’s my youngest and the idea that NONE of my kids were there anymore shook me to my core!

    – Dana

    12.10.20 Reply
  16. Sarah says:

    Oh girl – I hear you. I have 12.5 year old and nearly 10 year old girls. At different points in their development they have left me breathless – recently as these growth spurts inch closer to their launch (I know it’s coming but when is that exactly?) I develop a sense of pride and joy. Seeing them step into their future selves is affirming my role in assisting the growth of a healthy adult. It’s these times that remind of of Khalil Gibran’s poem ‘on children’ if you haven’t read it already go check it out and have tissues on hand.
    Cheers – Sarah
    PS – keep rocking your bad self ❤️

    12.10.20 Reply
  17. Nevada Peck says:

    My son is now 25. I cry when he comes to visit and cry when he leaves. Through every stage of his life is had emotional breakdowns. He was my miracle baby. My 3 lbs preemie. The day he got his drivers license I had a major mental breakdown and ended up in the hospital because I felt like he didn’t need me anymore. I’m crying just typing this. It’s so emotional watching them grow up and it happens soooo fast. You have such wholesome amazing children. You’re an amazing Mother. Merry Christmas and a blessed and healthy New Year.

    12.10.20 Reply
  18. Allyson G. says:

    This made me cry. My daughter is 13 months old and now feels to me like “the part where time begins to move quickly.” The rapidity of her development these past couple months has blown my mind, and I dont think it’s overblown or inaccurate to describe it as grief. I look at my daughter sometimes and mourn the tiny baby she used to be, who is no longer here, even as I celebrate her growth and I love every new age so much. The weirdness of this year has helped me stay more attuned and present. Even when I’m frustrated and counting down the minutes til bedtime, I try to cherish every moment and freeze as many as I can in my mind to go back to later.

    12.10.20 Reply
  19. Yvonne says:

    My 12 year old daughter grew up so much this year. She went from kid to tween to pretty much a teen. It’s amazing how time flies.
    Enjoy and savor every second of Six. It goes so fast!

    12.10.20 Reply
  20. Nathalie Prellwitz says:

    I like to go on walks & living in Las Vegas it’s always more comfortable to do that night, summer days can be too hot. My kiddos like to come along sometimes & one night I started to tear up when I realized I felt safer when my teenager son was with me. Instead of feeling I needed to protect him, I knew he could protect me.

    12.10.20 Reply
  21. Lauren Reilly says:

    Oh Mama, you did good! You are raising amazing kiddos that will always know how loved they are and they will treasure these moments forever with you. My sons were the same “old souls” as children and now they are the sweetest grown adults (and best friends). All stages of growth reveal wondrous glimpses of who they are ultimately becoming are we are blessed to have witnessed them along the way.❤️

    12.10.20 Reply
  22. Meaghan says:

    Same. My daughter’s adult teeth also grow in immediately after the baby ones fall out. I wasn’t expecting that. We didn’t have long with gaps in the mouth. She just turned 7 and as you said, sometimes I watch her and she looks so grown. She is wise and mature beyond her years and unfortunately much too empathetic like her mother, but I know she’ll put it to good use.

    12.10.20 Reply
  23. megan says:

    Dear Eva,

    You write so well. The story about your girl growing up is lovely, but you have a gift in your writing which is equally lovely. If you don’t know that, deep in your heart by now, you really should.

    Stay well – Happy Holidays.

    12.11.20 Reply
  24. Desiree says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I have a 7.5 year old daughter and have been feeling the same way for a bit now. It’s just little moments of how grown up she looks, loosing her front top teeth, or expressing her own fashion sense. The other day when we were getting ready for pictures for the holiday card and she did not want to wear the outfit I had planned, so she is proudly wearing a plaid shirt and sneakers on the cards this year.

    12.11.20 Reply
  25. David Kennedy says:

    Im a Grandfather along with my wife we are raising our Granddaughter, have had custody since 6 months old. She is 8 now and i am very worried how im going to handle the day she doesn’t ask to snuggle with us or play corney music or run around the house 100 miles an hour dancing at the same time.
    What am i going do when she grows older and perhaps will not look at me like she does now?
    We wrestle every day. Will i be just that old man who doesn’t allow her to do thing’s that i feel could put her in harms way? If i hear daddy in home depot will i allways look even 20 years from now? Im glad i have my wife because i truly believe im going to a basket case.

    05.26.21 Reply
    • Oh my gosh this comment made me cry. You are doing a great thing!! xo

      05.28.21 Reply