Monday, May 28, 2007
Last month, Emily turned seven. For those first few weeks, we didn't really notice much of a difference; she was still in first grade, still dramatic at the wrong moments, still as bossy as her mother all get-out.

But today. Today we had tangible proof that seven is different than six in at least one key area: going on the rides at Storyland has suddenly become a solo activity.

And who would have guessed that it is infinitely harder to stand idly by and watch your child climb aboard and wave from the top of the log flume ride by herself, than to laboriously clamber aboard ride after endless ride because she was too short to do it alone last year?

So, I'm still thinking about this the next morning. It's not a sad situation for me, exactly; just an acceptance of the inevitability of time and growth and blah blah blah. I spent summers with various grandparents, including Grandma O, in Old Forge, NY, and from about age 9 onward, she would drop me off at Enchanted Forest when it opened and pick me up outside in the afternoon, and I loved that freedom and never got into any trouble (there, at least). Emily's certainly not old enough for solo trips to the amusement park yet, but it's conceivable in the next few years. We're sending her to sleep-away camp for a full week in two months. Time rolls on, and all.

Actually, Willem's having a harder time with it all than me. He views himself as sort of Keeper of the Safety Rules in our house (though let's not talk about who the Enforcer of Said Rules is, hmm?) and by climbing onto a big ride and disappearing form sight, Emily proved yesterday that she is able to be responsible for herself for a few moments at a time; she was able to wait her turn in line and remain seated with hands and arms inside the car, and so on. It's a good thing, this independence... but it aches, too.