I know some of you are of the age to remember Schoolhouse Rock, the series of mini educational music videos that ran between Saturday morning children's programs on ABC in the mid-70s. Given you remember that, you probably know "Three--The Magic Number" which was a Multiplication Rock segment.
Daughter #1 turned 9. My husband asked her if she had any thoughts on turning 9...was she going to try new things, set new goals, etc.? She said that was for New Year's, not for her birthday.
At that point, I said that turning 9 meant that she was a whole year bigger and that new things could open up to her that she hadn't thought of before. Then she piped up that she would, essentially, cause her parents more grief. ("Ha!" she laughed. O, brother......)
My husband then turned the conversation back for the better saying that 9 would be a great year because 9 is a multiple of 3--and that's the magic number!
Daughter #1 thought that was great. She learned her multiplication tables this year and memorized all of the Multiplication Rock songs to do so (just like her Mom!).
And then I thought about 18, because that's a multiple of 3, too. She's halfway to 18. Halfway to being a legal adult and, more than likely, out on her own. Halfway to saying, "Bye, bye, Mom and Dad!"
THAT doesn't make 18 a magic number to me....not today, anyway.
Turning 9 is a reality checkpoint for me as a parent, and a sobering one at that. So much to do. So little time. Her streak of independence is already beginning in a mighty way, and I feel like I lose the ability to be of any use to her. I know that's not true. (I just brought her final project in to school today because she forgot it at home! Very uncharacteristic of Daughter #1, but I actually felt useful!) Anyhow, the learning curve to 9 has been a really steep one.
We had a wonderful family celebration at home, and she received lots of great gifts. She was SO thankful! I cherish those moments because, for the moment, they are few. Now, she will celebrate with some close girlfriends.
If you know me, you know I fuss over these kinds of celebrations. I do want them to be special and memorable (which is why I do goofy stuff like embroider names on washcloths for a sleepover--"You've got to wash your faces. The pimples are coming! The pimples are coming! And that's not all (ugh!)"-- and why we're having a sleepover, period).
I want her to know that friends are important. I want her to know that spending time with friends, doing fun things, is great. And I do want her to know that she is special. Because in the day-to-day, sometimes, that message seems to get lost/mistranslated/obliterated/blocked out/etc.
I do love you, 9 year old! Now, let's vacuum the family room so you and your friends can spill popcorn and Hershey Kiss wrappers all over your sleeping bags.... (I'm so glad you're still only 9!)