For the past few months my daughter has been saying “I can’t wait to be 8”.
I can. I can wait. I want to wait.
I want to wait at least the next two months and I’d prefer to wait another two years.
This is the only time she’s going to be 7 and I want her to remember every adventure and every new moment of it, just in case they are the best moments of her life.
Why do they grow up so fast? It seems that every time I update an app on my phone, I have to buy her new clothes. Why do their feet grow so fast they can’t wear their winter shoes for more than one winter?
She wants to be 8 because it’s new, undiscovered and limitless. 8-year olds get to do things that 7-year olds don’t. When I ask her what those “things” are, she says “just some things, Dad, you don’t understand.”
It’s not going to stop when she’s 8. I know this. I give it 5 months before the first “I can’t wait to be 9” which is far less enjoyable since it doesn’t rhyme. There are going to be things that 9-year olds do and she’s going to want that world. Eight will get stale and boring. She has built up “8” to be such a big and fantastic world there’s just no way it will live up to her expectations.
It sounds dramatic, and I don’t mean it to be drama for the sake of drama. I think there’s a valuable lesson here. I think her tendency is just so forward-looking that the future is always brighter than the now.
Many of us are guilty. Sometimes we don’t see the friend who needs us right now. Sometimes we don’t feel the sun on our face because we just want to get into the shade. Sometimes the meeting, the deadline, or the project completely consumes us and we can’t be held back by anything or anyone.
Instead of truly participating in our opportunities, our moments become victims of our to-do lists. The conversation we should have had. The prayer concern we should have pursued further. The question we should have taken the time to answer. The cry for help we should have heard.
So Daddy-who-doesn’t-understand says to her “Emma, let’s enjoy the next two months. Eight is going to be great, but for now let’s have fun being 7. Let’s not miss anything.”
She kisses me on the cheek and says “You’re right, Dad. I love you. But I still can’t wait to be 8.”