Not Small Anymore

Anna and I at the fair in 2006

Photo: Julia Ozab

I can’t believe she was once that small.

The thought goes through my head every time I see a baby. Especially one with a full head of dark hair—like Anna.

I can’t believe my Anna was once that small . . . and yet it seems like yesterday that she was. And I can’t believe she’s gotten so big.

She’s seven now.

“Seven and a half,” she reminds me—and everyone else.

She’s starting second grade in less than four weeks.

She can read.

She knows all the states.

She knows all the planets.

She can swim the length of a pool, even on her back.

She’s not my baby anymore.

She’s in a hurry to grow up. To go to Oregon State. To become an astronaut, or a marine biologist, or a rock star.

I tell her I wish she’d slow down. Enjoy being a kid before she worries about being an adult. That childhood only comes once.

She says she’ll compromise and “grow up at normal speed.”

It’s still too fast for me.

And then, last night before she went to bed, she sat down next to me and hugged me for no reason, except that she wanted to.

And she reminded me without saying a word that no matter how big she gets, she’ll still be my little girl.

And I’ll still be her dad.

Five Minute Friday

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