Samantha will be five in June. She weighs around forty-five pounds and comes up to the top of my waist when she stands. She will start Kindergarten in September. She is very proud of those things. She loves that she is growing. She wants to be weighed and measured all the time. Multiple times a day. When she talks about kindergarten, she bounces.
She is also, officially, too big. I have a hard time lifting her. She’s too cumbersome. Her legs hang to my knees when I pick her up. I can’t carry her very far. If she wants me to hold her, I have to sit with her in my lap instead of standing.
And we’re both having a hard time with that. She’s at the transition between little girl and big girl and neither of us is quite ready for her to take the final step.
Samantha still wants to be carried. She sees her sisters being carried, one in each arm, and she asks to be carried too.
“No, you’re too big.”
“I can’t, I’m carrying your sisters.”
Sometimes she’s fine with that. Sometimes she whines about the unfairness. Sometimes she cries.
On Sunday I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk with me while her sisters and dad napped. She said yes. A short walk. Around the block.
“Do you want to take your scooter?”
“You want to walk?”
“No. I want to go in the stroller.”
“I don’t think you’ll fit. I think you’re too big.”
Whining ensued, so we tried. I unfolded the stroller. She put one leg in the seat. Wrong angle. She twisted and bended and struggled like she was trying to squeeze into a favorite pair of too tight jeans. And she did. She folded herself up, squashed in the seat, her knees hitting the tray, and we went for our walk. I started around the block and she redirected me. She wanted to go for a longer walk. So we did. She pulled her knees up to her chest, crammed into the seat, and fell asleep.
She’s not quite ready to stop being a little girl. And I’m not ready for her to grow up.
I wonder if I carried her enough to remember the feel of her legs wrapped around my waist. If I inhaled her baby smell deeply enough so my nose never forgets . If I snuggled her enough so I never forget the warmth of the crook of her neck. If I tossed her in the air enough to remember the gleeful squeals.
I wonder if I’m going to forget how heavy she was when she was born. How my arms ached to the bone, not yet conditioned by motherhood, from carrying eight pounds. I wonder if I’ll forget how I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders when we strapped her in the car seat for the first time for the drive home from the hospital.