Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An "Enchanted" evening with my daughter...

I must admit to a bit of scheming last week. Miss B was to have a skating party on Tuesday night and we were to bake cookies for Thanksgiving on Wednesday evening. I convinced Miss B to bake cookies on Tuesday, skip the skating party, and go out to see Enchanted instead.

I knew it was the kind of movie that would either be very good or very bad. Luckily for us, it was excellent. We loved every minute of it (and B was very excited about the preview for the upcoming Chipmunks movie). It got a bit nerve-wracking for Miss B towards the end, but I reassured her that everything would work out fine. And of course it did.

It was quite funny. I teach a college course on Disney and hope that this film comes out on DVD in time to use it next semester. If you have ever poked fun at fairy tales, Disney princesses, or silly showtunes, you will love this movie. If you adore fairy tales, Disney princesses, or silly showtunes, you will also love this movie. It has something for everyone.

And I suggest you take your favorite 7 year old with you. This certainly enhanced my movie-going experience. I rarely see movies in the theatre, so I especially hate to feel disappointed by a film (which would explain why I was so angry after watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle... my most recent movie theatre experience). It was nice to spend that time together and to talk about the movie later. I've got a cool kid, and I like for her to know that's how her mom feels about her.

*Note to Parents* This movie is rated PG. Young children might get a bit frightened or nervous near the end. At one point it seems as if the heroine might die. Later the wicked queen turns into a dragon (ala Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty) using very realistic looking CGI effects. Please know your child and prepare them or walk them through accordingly.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

There she goes...

There she goes again,
Racin' through my brain,
And I just can't contain,
This feeling that remains.

-Sixpence None the Richer (among others...)

So while Sister Goldenhair has returned to her efforts to be the ultimate two year old, Miss B has turned seven. Seven. How dare she grow up before my very eyes? There is something so satisfying, yet so very heartbreaking about watching my firstborn grow up. I remember the very second I first saw her. My life was forever altered. It was as if all I had ever done was leading me to this moment in the delivery room.

And I have delighted in motherhood ever since. Sure the pay stinks and the appreciation isn't always there, but I dearly love the role I have in the two miracles I help to raise. But this unexpected pain is so bittersweet. I always knew it would be hard to have her leave home someday, but I didn't expect to feel a twinge at every milestone.

I adored Miss B as a baby. She was soft and sweet, outgoing yet still Mommy's girl. She grew into an inquisitive toddler with curly hair and big blue eyes. Her sense of humor has always been present, as is her love of words and dancing. She has always been a blessing to me, a girlie girl in love with all things pink and sparkly. She's even a big part of the reason I fell in love with the house we bought.

Our home is a typical Midwestern ranch house built in 1956. It was well-kept but out-dated, and though many features caught my eye, it was Miss B that sold it. She ran through the house in pure, unadulterated, 18-month-old joy. I could hear her little feet thumping on the hardwood floors as she laughed and danced in each room. My heart was won over in that instant. Sure, the pitter patter of little feet is cliche, but I can still remember how I felt when I first heard it.

But now she's gone and really started to grow up. First it was starting kindergarten and turning six, now she's seven. First grade. Losing baby teeth left and right. Getting calls from a boy (!). I have always been aware of this inexorable progression, but it was really brought home last weekend. My brother got married and Miss B and SG were asked to be flower girls. While much of the attention was focused on SG (would she or wouldn't she walk down the aisle? would she through a fit?), I couldn't help but notice how Miss B seemed so grown up.

Sure, she danced and giggled like a little girl, but she also behaved beyond her years. Her hair was pinned up and tiara-ed, and she got to wear a dab of makeup. But it was more than appearance. She was always there to take her sister's hand and lead her or to quietly help SG know what to do. Many people noticed the blond cherub sprinkling petals, but I don't think many could ignore the quiet beauty of this princess. She has grown in beauty since the day she was born. Her blue eyes have turned a bit gray and her hair no longer curls, but she still takes my breath away.

When she was born I loved her for what she was, now I love her for who she is. She is funny, articulate, bright, sensitive, caring, a good sister, and a blessing to all who know her. Sure, I still get frustrated with her when her room is a mess or she doesn't listen. She is in many ways still very much a child, but she is in many ways so grown up. I'll happily deal with a messy room if I know that she is trying so hard to be a good sister and friend.

It's just hard to watch a part of my heart grow both more dear and closer to maturity at the same time. Part of me wants the world to see and appreciate this beautiful diamond, but part of me wants to hide this jewel away to secretly enjoy. She's always been my girl, dependent on me for so much. But now she is her own person in so many ways. And so I try to support her in all her dreams, even if they will one day take her away from me. 'Cause if I thought it was hard to some day let her go, it would be harder still to make her stay.

She says things are fallen into place
Feels like they're fallen apart
I painted this big ol' smile on my face
To hide my broken heart
If only she knew
This is where I don't say what I want so bad to say
This is where I want to but I won't get in the way
Of her and her dreams
And spreadin' her wings

-- Billy Ray Cyrus (who ever thought that Billy Ray would say it best?)