I don’t know about you, but I remember very well turning 10. I thought it was a big deal. I was finally a 2 digit, like everybody else, for the rest of my life. I was almost big, almost a grown up… And today she is 10. And that is somehow magnificent. It’s blinking with your eyes and she’s changing. One moment she’s playing with her little toys being in Wonderland, and next moment she’s questioning the news trying to understand why people are at war. And then again she’s clutching her teddy bear and curls on my lap trying to be a little girl. I see into my daughter’s soft, kind, big brown eyes, the baby she’s been and the lady she’s becoming.
I can’t measure up time in years, time is created more out of moments. Those moments of pure wonder, enchantment, bliss, laughter. And sorrow, sadness, hellos and goodbyes. It’s those moments that capture time and makes you feel it.
I can recall the moment we brought her home from the hospital, almost 10 years ago. I remember the excitement and the joy of holding our fragile baby and the fear of doing everything wrong. And then dancing in the living room on Stevie’s “Isn’t she lovely”, over and over again, because lovely she was. I still feel the soft autumn sun shining over her pram as I walked the streets and parks of Amsterdam feeling the proudest mum in the whole world. And her radiant face when she started crawling in the green grass tickling her skin, watched carefully by our dog. It’s the toe-dipping in the North sea in that warm November in Scheveningen, as she just started walking more steady after she turned one. And her fascination with the Christmas tree, that still remains until now, being 15 month and starring in delight at all the light and ornaments, clapping her hands, all rosy cheeks and cheers. And falling asleep at the table, her head on her arms, devastated by so much excitement.
A bit later she was sleeping with tens of stuffed animals in her bed, that we silently removed after she fell asleep. Not before her dad performed the most fantastic horsey riding, monkey slinging, tickling “vine goanga” going-to-bed routine there has ever been. Our two cats being the most patient ever, being dragged each under one arm by our daughter who was trying to manage her own circus. Her tantrums full of tons of energy, supermarket floor and all. The little nightmares and crawling up in our bed every single morning for a while, each day a bit earlier then the night before. And her imaginary friend Max, the most fantastic ever, changing shape and skills and being “reincarnated” now in her own cat Max.
Those moments when fantasy was as real to her as the love we felt for her. The stories she made up, the fairytales relived, the dressing up, the drawings, the passion put in all that. Listening in the car to opera, because that’s princess music to her. The books red over and over again until she knew them by heart. And re-telling those stories because her imagination is bigger. Her being filled with exuberation each time it snows, ecstatic while ice skating, dreaming in front of the fireplace to get warm. The first time she sat on a horse. Making bouquets of autumn leaves and taking long walks in flower fields or dark woods. The joy of finding those so called “elves benches” mushrooms (elfenbankjes) and imagining a world full of fireflies and phosphorescence. Picking flowers and putting them behind her ears. And wishing upon a star, that became her so much wanted but lost brother Felix, when she had to feel the sadness that not all fairytales end well.
Those moments are endless, because time is endless when you are a child. And we are trying our best for her to be growing roots and spreading her wings. And she is spreading her wings so fast now. And that is when time rushes by and leaves you breathless. I try to capture more moments but I am also drown back by all the things that end. The early childhood, that fairytale world is fading away. And though goodbyes are hard, the new world opening up is fascinating. Her teen world is as sensitive and fragile as she is. And also as loud and present as she is. And strong. She is trying to find her way of being herself but also fitting in. She is kind and heartfelt, but she’s juggling written and unwritten social graces, trying to understand. She’s dancing on Imagine Dragons and singing her lungs off on Frozen. She’s in between wanting an iphone and a hamster for her birthday.
She’s moved countries, she’s met the world on a small scale in her classroom and knows the flags of all her (former) class mates. She switches languages in a blink of an eye. Her world is big! She plays the violin, and I have no idea how she does it, but she nails it. And she plays the piano and loves to jam with her dad. She loves to swim and be a mermaid. She draws an entire world on a piece of paper. She loves minecraft. And going to a film. An cycling and singing at the same time. She’s contemplating life. And each great day is every time the best day of her life. She loves her grandparents. She loves her cat and fishes. She loves to cuddle up with me and talk. A lot. About everything. She makes friends easily, but she likes being alone too. She’s almost all the time happy. Radiant and curious. And when she’s sad she talks about her feelings. Even if she sometimes does not know how to put in words. I wonder for how long…
And today she is ten.
P.S. She got the hamster 🙂