Holding on to Six

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In two days my daughter will turn seven. SEVEN. S.E.V.E.N! It sounds so old. It’s so far from preschooler or toddler or infant. She’s a solid grade-schooler if that’s even a term.

Just this morning I told a woman, “she’s just six.” Years past I would have said “almost six” or “four in three days.” But for some reason, that I’m too afraid to admit, I’m holding on to six.

Six is fun. It’s a fun word to say, with an x hanging on the end. Not many words use an X, and even fewer (yep, your mind went there, mine did too, but we’re talking about my daughter here), put most of their emphasis on that greatly underused consentant.

Hell, Six is even a fun word to look at. The contrast between the curvy S and the straight-laced, yet unexpectedly fun X? And the little I with it’s little dot. It’s just a fun word.

But seven? I’m not ready for seven. I’m not ready to visit the land of the tween, even if it’s just for quick moments. And I’m not ready to have a second-grader. But really, I’m not ready to say goodbye to six. To say goodbye to the baby that surprised me every day. The baby that asked to be held. The baby that I could bring with me wherever I went. The baby that I carried with me for 10 months.

Which is why, last night at 11:24 when she woke with a nightmare I didn’t even question her request. Of course you can sleep in our bed. Of course I’ll let me cuddle into my side, rest your head in my armpit, lay your hair across my face.

Those moments come far less often than they have in the past. I’m hanging on to every one of them. And for the next two days, I’m embracing six. And every unexpected surprise that comes with it. For 48 hours, I’m holding on to Six.

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