My daughters went scootering yesterday while I walked behind them trying to keep up, looking out for cars backing out of driveways into them and shouting warnings for them to stop at the corner and look both ways before crossing. My oldest, Nicole, is 9 and very able to negotiate the neighborhood sidewalks and streets. However, my other daughter Natalie, who is 6, born on April Fool's Day, is growing into her independence. She may not know how to do as much as her older sister, but she always tries to keep up, faking her way through it if she has to, and sometimes showing herself to be braver, stronger and more willing to try things than the older kids she wants to hang out with.
When asked her age, instead of saying she's six, Natalie will quickly volunteer that she is in her "early sevens." As her older sister raced ahead of her on the scooter and shouted for Natalie to keep up, Natalie yelled back, "I'm not your sidekick!" Seriously beginning to wonder if Natalie had been watching Oprah over the winter break, I asked her what she meant by her comment. Natalie replied that not being a sidekick meant that she didn't have to always keep up and do what Nicole wanted her to do. She wasn't a sidekick. She was her own person.
Natalie is moving from the stage of being a baby, toddler, kindergartner into a big kid. There is a part of me that is sad to see the little girl stage go (although I live in fear of the teen years), yet I love watching Natalie's growing independence. Her assertion that she's "Not a sidekick," her need to be not six, but slightly older before her time, her desire to keep up and strive to do whatever her older sister and friends are doing is a good lesson for me. It teaches how to push forward even when we may fear we are not quite ready or well equipped enough for the task at hand. I may not be in my early sevens anymore, but that's a good thing to remember at any age!
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