This girl, this nine-year-old girl blows me away. This girl, grown-up in so many ways (Mom! Why can't I wear make-up!) yet still so innocent and young (she loves that doll she's holding).
Of all my kids, she reminds me of me the most. Her interests (horses, reading), her personality (stubborn, always in a rush to get to the next thing, self-confident, independent) and her talents (she loves to write as much as I do, though my hope is she will far, far surpass me in talent and ability).
In other ways, though, she reminds me of me the least. Her interests (fashion), her talents (she's fairly artistic).
These combinations scare me as much as they delight me. How many times in my life did I stick to some entrenched opinion only to learn, the hard way-- always the hard way!-- that I was wrong? What choices will she make as her life progresses that would be made easier if she didn't have my stubborn personality? Will her self-confidence remain and will she be confident enough to make decisions for herself even when others are encouraging her otherwise?
It's fun to speculate. She and her best friend already have it all figured out; she says she wants to be a large animal veterinarian. Her friend will also be a veterinarian, only she will be a small animal vet. They plan on living on one big farm with two, separate houses. Their husbands are going to stay home with their kids.
I smile and encourage Madeleine, of course. But inwardly I chuckle at the idea of my little girl, my nine-year-old Madeleine, delivering calves and foals when, right now, she runs and shrieks at the sight of a worm.
I do not know what she will do or what she will become. But I do know that this girl, this sweet little girl that I held for the first time only a few short moments ago in a hospital room in Janesville, Wisconsin, is halfway through her childhood. I want her to remain small, to remain mine, but eventually I will have to share her with the world. Halfway through. Soon speculation will become reality. I hope I am ready.