You know the saying – a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, to me, this picture is worth a thousand hugs.
It was part of my 3(six)5 project last week. I'm a little over 50 days into it, and I've yet to miss a picture, but I'll admit that some days it's a struggle to come up with something. It was late in the afternoon, and the most beautiful light was pouring in through our family room windows. Elena was happily tucked into a book on the couch, but she was willing to put the book down for a few moments and indulge me in a little photo shoot.
Looking over the photos long after her bedtime, I marveled over how tricky it's been lately to capture her essence in a photograph. Not nearly as tricky as it's been navigating the transition between preschooler and girlhood, though.
This in-between, it's been rough. We can't quite figure her out, and we're left feeling that everything, everything, is a tug-of-war with no clear winner. It's as if she's caught in some sort of childhood limbo, where all that she's been and known is far too babyish, but all that she wants to do and be is not quite age-appropriate, either.
In this past week alone we've had to address french kissing (just the term, not the actual kissing – but still!) and cat fights over a boy (By this I mean "cat fight" in the most literal fashion: if one girl gets too close to the chosen boy, the other girl hisses, like a cat. This cat obsession has got to go). Mike and I collapsed on the couch the other night and just looked at each other like, "What the hell?" All those years of forbidding Hannah Montana for this? You don't know if it's lack of vigilance on your part, or if this is just the world creeping in, finding these girls younger and younger and still not satisfied to leave them be.
So this picture. It does my heart good to know that my little girl is still in there. In her playdress, with her freckles, and those eyelashes that I swear have been that long since the day she was born. On those days when the sighing, the drama, and the iCarly-ness is just too much, I'll always have this picture and its thousand hugs. Not the prickly, I'm-only-hugging-you-because-you're-my-mother hugs, either. No, it's the sticky, full-on, fierce hugs you get when they barely reach your kneecaps kind that I have in mind. For now, I may just go watch this creature as she sleeps. Because they're always precious and baby-like in their sleep.
And they can't roll their eyes at you when they're closed.