It’s arrived – the year of the drastic haircut; the later bedtime; the reading of Harry Potter. All those years ago, 10 sounded like the faraway age of reason and reasonability. “No, you may not cut your hair. When you’re 10, then you can have your hair cut.” “No, you can’t read Harry Potter! You’re only 7! When you’re 10, then you’ll be old enough.”
Well, 10 has arrived. And my mother heart cries – “Noooo. 10 is so young!” Whatever happened to this child?
It seems like yesterday that she made us parents for the first time…
And that we got to enjoy her as our only child for 21 months…
Our little doll …
who spent the first seven years of her life loving all things pink and purple, fairies and ballet, castles and princesses.
As evidenced by her cakes over the years – the first four collaborative efforts by Craig and I. The rest – entirely Craig’s!
Sadly, I only began blogging in 2007, so we only have birthday posts from her 5th birthday onwards: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th. But the transition from girly girl to adventuring bookworm is evident. Our little girl is growing up.
And now she is 10. 10! Never again to dwell in the single digits. And boy is she excited. 10 means she can ride the Cobra at Ratanga. 10 means she can finally start reading Harry Potter (with the condition that we talk it all through as we go – which means I’ll have to read them all again, to refresh my memory!) 10 is all grown up, she declares. Mom, you may no longer call me a little girl. 10…
It seems so very much bigger than 9. And I’m not sure if I am quite ready to move from mourning a little girl past to embracing a young lady emerging.
Yet… what a young lady she is. Oh, not in the traditional sense. Since she was seven and a half, Kiera has shed her cocoon of pinks and purples and emerged a fully fledged tomboy. Adventuring, horse-riding, j-boarding, biking and hiking are her thing. She’s ready to try just about any daring thing – adrenalin junkie that she is. This year she’s added caving, rollercoasters, wall-climbing, tree-climbing, ostrich-riding and holding tarantulas to her list of daring activities.
But even while she is hankering after trying out some new crazy thing – like her most recent foray into learning Italian using my phone’s translation app – she’s content to enjoy the things she already holds dear. Starting with: her family, most especially her dad. Spending time with Dad is high on her agenda – of all the birthday activities she’s spoken about, her Daddy Date is the most discussed and planned. She still loves reading, devouring books and discovering new authors like Susan Cooper, Brian Jacques, Douglas Bond and more. Her love of great stories flows over onto the keyboard from time to time, as she creates her own adventures. Her dropbox folder is stuffed full of half-started stories and interesting plot lines. Free time at home is primarily divided into four or five activities for Kiera – reading, writing, playacting, drawing or practising her gymnastics. Our couch back is a balance beam, our lounge carpet a floor mat, our jungle gym a bar. And her hard work and persistence has paid off – she has done well in her contests this year and now represents Western Province – a goal she has been aiming for since she joined the competition group. When she’s not prancing around the house doing cartwheels and backbends, she’s orchestrating family plays or exercising her love of drama. Just about any mealtime is filled with her witty comebacks, punny sayings, plethora of accents and entertaining tales. More recently, we are subject to repeated rehearsals from her up-coming drama class play. Sometimes, we can do nothing but giggle at her hilarious renditions, but more surprising, for me, that is, is when I find myself laughing with her at jokes or word plays that once would have sailed over her head. My little girl is growing up.
It’s more and more evident the closer we get to 10. Oh, she still loves to play with her siblings, act silly and be entirely typical for her age. But, emerging from her young self is a young girl who thinks deeply, shows great responsibility and self-control. She continues to approach her school work with a diligence I never had at that age. And, more often these days, I see her choosing to look beyond herself. Not too long ago, I came home to find that she had set the table for dinner, run the bath for the boys and laid out their pjs too on her own initiative. Oftentimes she looks after her brothers and cares for her sister in that big sisterly way. When Craig cut his finger at Katie’s birthday party, it was Kiera who showed maturity beyond her years – shielding her siblings from the trauma, calling me, showing initiative and getting Craig everything he needed and then, afterwards, getting alongside me to help with the party preparations. It felt like I was working alongside a peer and not a child.
Oh, it’s not all been plain sailing. And she’s no little angel. She’s had her fair share of choosing friends above siblings; snapping grumpily; sassing mom and yelling in frustration at annoying little brothers. More often than not, her anger is suppressed and hardened heart issues are the focus of our chats – or mom’s monologue while she steams. Tears are despised by young Kiera, although, they do appear from time to time with deep emotion. But, eventually these times pass and relationship restoration is heartfelt and healing. Before we know it, the snappy comebacks are fast and furious; the teasing tones; the hilarious jokes; the insightful discussions; the deep questions; and the fired up opinions are the order of the day.
And I would have it no other way. This child-woman of mine is 10. Ten years of flashing time that makes me wonder what the next 10 bring….
If the quote above is anything to go by, I envision a young woman of 20 passionate about truth, ideals, justice and righteousness. I can see the late night discussions and great debates; the righteous indignation and delight in discovery. It wouldn’t surprise me if she donned hiking boots and safari hat and headed off into the wilds of Africa determined to serve a purpose to the greater good.
But, I remind myself, a lot can change in 10 years. And no matter what path in life she forges, my prayer will remain the same: that our daughter will continue to cling to the gospel, fight for His Truth, live in His Grace and keep trusting Him every step of the way.