We walk, hand in hand, along the beach. She tells me funny stories of her friends’ antics, her worries about the upcoming FCAT, her concerns about fifth grade and middle school. Suddenly, she seems every day of her ten years and three months on this planet. My conversation with her seems more similar to one that I’d have with an adult than one I’d have with a small child. She is growing closer to and farther away from me at the same time. I’m grateful for the salt spray from the waves that masks the tears forming in my eyes because I’m not sure I could explain them to her, explain that they are a mixture of the bitter and the sweet, that I love who she is becoming while still longing for who she was, who I was, five, seven, nine years ago. I don’t understand all the emotions I feel about her growing up; how could I possibly expect her to understand my feelings on top of her own questions about navigating this new world of pre-teeness? I won’t burden her with my melancholy. So, I smile and listen and soak in every moment of my time with her. Listening to her is to hear a whisper of the future, how things will be five years from now. But then…..
Abigail calls from the edge of the surf, “Gracie come and play with me!” And as she runs quickly to join her sister, she is again a little girl, splashing and playing and that whisper of the future is quiet for now.