Zoe turns four next weekend.
Seriously. Four! I, like most moms I'm sure, am struggling with that. I mean, she was a baby, not so long ago! Completely dependent on me for EVERYTHING.
And now she's a kid! A messy, crazy, hilarious, intelligent, mischievous, semi-independent kid!
It's sad sometimes - I did love when she was a baby.
But then...in some ways...it's so amazing.
My favorite thing right now is that her attention span has improved dramatically in the last six months or so. Where a full Dr. Seuss book used to have her climbing the walls, suddenly she's willing to sit for almost anything that I read.
So we've left baby books behind, and last week we started one of my all-time favorite children's books. The Secret Garden. If I go upstairs right now, I know I'll find my original paperback edition, purchased with my own money from Walden Books when I was a kid. It's tattered, dog-eared, and I love it.
Zoe's version is one I think my mother bought for her when she was a baby. It's a hard-cover, with illustrations scattered throughout.
When Zoe picked it out of her closet last week, I told her it was one of my favorites. I think that added to her willingness to listen, in the beginning anyway.
Of course, I glossed over some parts. Mary Lennox, the protagonist, "loses" her parents - they don't die. I'm so not willing to have that conversation right now.
But she's already entranced by the idea of a garden, locked away with no key. She's enthralled by the descriptions of a robin redbreast, and a boy named Dickon, and a house with a hundred rooms, all locked up.
It sort of proves: some books are just amazing. Doesn't matter how much time passes, how the world changes. Some books have the power to make the rest of the world disappear, to transport you, to transcend.
I miss my baby sometimes, but the girl who stands in her place is pretty amazing. I look forward to the wide-open world of literature that awaits us. Soon, in this book, she'll meet Colin, and Archibald Craven, and the round, rosy Susan Sowerby. After that? Who knows! Peter Pan? The Wind in the Willows? The Cricket in Times Square and Anne of Green Gables?
I will read to Zoe every day, every night, if it means I get to relive all my old favorites through her eyes.
And I will love every minute of it.