My brother's daughters were in town last week during their Spring Break. They're 10 and 11, respectively. Smart. Beautiful. All grown up, but still so young. Tweens. Now they're all about, "This guy I like," and, "That's for little kids."
I always love seeing them, but this time was different. Now, I have two of my own and I can draw so many parallels between my nieces and my daughters. Their age differences, their personality types, even their physical attributes.
Every time one would talk about a particular crush, I would immediately imagine myself having the same conversation with one of my own girls. And then wonder..."Why am I having this conversation with such a young girl?" And then hope..."Surely, mine will be older when this happens."
Subsequently, I would start to think about what my nieces would have in store for themselves over the next few years. Middle school, high school. Ugh. I don't want them get older and lose any more of their sweet innocence. I don't want them to see the things that I know they will see. I don't want them to feel the things that I know they will feel. I don't want them to grow up any more than they already have.
The irony is that I spend much of my day thinking about how much nicer things will be when my girls are older and more autonomous. I selfishly long for the days when I won't have to sacrifice sleep for personal time, and I dream of a more simplified existence that doesn't revolve around nap-times and snack-times and bed-times.
Spending time with my nieces this past week has opened my eyes about what is to come for my own daughters. As cliche as it is, they really do grow up fast. I need not rush the precious childhoods that lay before me, as I know the time will come and go in front of my eyes and before I know it my little babies will be big girls.