My youngest is no longer so young. Entering seventh grade this year means life as a child is fading while the responsibilities and changes of a young adult are looming on the horizon.
I drove past a Toys-R-Us the other day and realized it had been several years since I have graced their doors (no love lost there, really). We have been past the “toys for gifts” faze for several years now. Replaced with clothes and books and more grown up gadgets.
It struck me several years ago that, at some point, there was a last time that I picked up each of my children and held them during church. But, at the moment, I didn’t know it was to be the last time. How sad not to have been able to relish it!
Yet, if we all knew that it was creeping up to that point in the size and age of our children, I suppose we’d keep picking them up and carrying them around until they were big enough to pick us up and carry you around...which may prove embarrassing for all parties.
Anyhow, we have been lamenting that our youngest was now entering junior high, and that all of our kids, come fall, were of “youth group” age for church. Although it is a wonderful new stage to be a part of, it has happened so swiftly that I feel I have been plucked up by some giant bird and dropped off further along in my life than I actually should be.
The other evening I was enjoying some one on one time with my youngest (the one that isn’t so young). She leaned over to me and said, “You know, I’m not sure I want to start youth group in the fall.”
“Really?” I said, surprised by the revelation. “Why?”
“Because, I don’t know that I am ready to grow up just yet. I like being a kid.”
I thought I might melt. How sweet, how refreshing! (And how totally opposite from myself at that age). “That is perfectly fine, honey,” I said. “Once you begin that journey, you can never go back to childhood innocence. But you do have a choice from this end to put off growing up for awhile. There’s no hurry.”
“Ok,” she said is that trustful way that only a child can pull off. And that was all that needed to be said.
Pretty wise, for a kid. :)