This is Childhood: Table of Contents
This is One
You put on little shows for us before bedtime, contorting your sweet face into goofy grins, twirling your small body around and around, delighting in our attention, our inevitable applause.
This is Two
My strong, smart, beautiful girl, my indomitable two-year-old handful, it is an honor to be your mother, to shepherd you and hold you and follow you through your childhood, to bear witness to all that you are and all that you are becoming.
This is Three
Three is climbing, dancing, and understanding the rules of a game. It’s the “I do it myself” age. Or, as all of my children have said at three: I do it myTHELF.
By Nina Badzin
This is Four
“Do you want me to carry you?”
“No!” He says, as he opens his arms up to me. I reach down and lift my boy. My third child, the only four-year-old I’ve ever deemed my baby.
By Galit Breen
This is Five
Five wears stickers on his shirt, which is getting to be too small and bares a wee bit of belly, Spiderman light-up sneakers, and a face half-painted to look like Iron Man. Five has swagger to spare.
By Allison Slater Tate
This is Six
You’ve brought gum chewing. Without swallowing. You’ve brought the determination to blow your first of a lifetime of bubbles.
By Bethany Meyer
This is Seven
Esther is snuggled in my arms. We are squished together on a chair. Just us, four Pillow Pets, and our cat. “Mom, do you think I’ll ever see a real unicorn, because that is my one big dream, you know,” Esther says quietly as my lips meet her cheek. “I hope so, Esther.”
By Tracy Morrison
This is Eight
As you careen from child to young woman and as you visibly fight your instinct to shut me out with the urge to cuddle in my arms, I am struggling, too.
By Amanda Magee
This is Nine
Yet she still needs. She needs an ally. She needs emotional guidance and unconditional love, strong examples and honesty. A mother with whom she can be herself and whom she can trust. And, thankfully she still needs (and wants) my embrace. I am humbled by this honor of mine.
By Denise Ullem
This is Ten
Ten is a complicated hymn, a falling star, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in time, an otherworldly flash of green gorgeousness in the dark ocean.
By Lindsey Mead