I cringe every time Siaya tells me that she can’t wait to grow up. This seems a little hypocritical since I know for a fact that I was the same when I was younger. I can remember wishing for two or three years to instantly pass me by so I could receive the same privileges as my older brother. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to empathize with her feelings. The pictures that cover our walls and fill our computers are a constant reminder of how fast time seems to slip away. To me there is no reason to justify quickening its pace. So I simply explain to her that she won’t have as much time to play when she gets older. This is usually all it takes for her to change her mind and agree that staying young is the best course. At least it is until the next time there is a reason to suddenly grow up.
And the fact is, Siaya will grow up. The past seven years have sailed by in a flurry and I am sure that the next few years will zip by just as fast. (Too fast for me.) She will continue to grow and become more independent. Dolls and crayons will be replaced with more mature games and toys. She will stop wanting to crawl into our bed at night and spend more time on her own. As she moves into her teens her attention will start to focus on things away from our family life. All I can hope is that she will strive to maintain her youthful demeanor and not feel the need to grow up beyond her years.
If Siaya is anything like her father, (God Forbid!) she will hit her stride during her late teens and feel as if time is standing still. She will suddenly have the freedom to make most of her own decisions without having the pressures of adulthood to weigh her down. I pray that she will have the strength and courage to make the ‘right’ decisions and hold on to a small piece of the child that she is today. As the world pushes her to grow and change she needs to struggle against the current and preserve a piece of her youthful purity.
Seasons will come and go and I know in my heart that Siaya will become the woman that she is meant to be. I trust that she will grow into herself with an insight and understanding of who she is and how she fits into the world around her. I am optimistic that she will be happy with the beauty that she embodies inside and out because she will have grown up staying young.
Fortunately, however, my little girl is still seven. Siaya continues to ask me to read to her, play with her and tuck her in at night. She looks at me with the same eyes that gaze back upon her, full of a love that is pure and infinite. And as I encourage my little sweet pea to blossom and become more independent, in my heart she will remain beside me holding my hand, knocking on our door at night and remaining forever young.
(Forever Young, by Rod Stewart, brings me back to grade twelve, the beginning of a chapter in my life that I call, ‘Being Stupid’. (But that is another story.) This song marks a period when I felt as if time were standing still. I was wrong; however, I never lost my sense of youth. And now, fatherhood has given these lyrics a whole new depth of meaning that truly is forever!)
Forever Young youtube link