jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Tomorrow She is Never Again Four Years Old (Not Even One Dot)

I look at the clock and it’s 11:34 pm. I picture my newly minted five-year-old, asleep in her bed, covered with the Hello Kitty blanket I stayed up until past midnight last night to make, her hands curled under her ear, like the fiddlehead ferns she begged me to buy in the grocery store last week. I wonder, does she know that she has twenty-six minutes (now twenty) left of being in the in-between?

Because on her birthday this morning, she began as a four-year-old. And four-year-olds are young. They’re like babies. They go to pre-school. They say things like, “I liked it, but only one dot,” and everyone nods in wonderment. They are allowed to lisp. They always get right of way, whether on a bike or in a pool or playing Skipbo. Because they’re just four. And everyone else, at least everyone else in my house, is older.

Wearing a shirt I wore when I was four  June 2015

Wearing a shirt I wore when I was four
June 2015

But now, asleep in her bed, she is five. And in twenty minutes (actually, now eighteen minutes) she will be entirely five, not even one dot four. And while she will remain the youngest in my household, five does not have the cachet that four does.

June, 1979 I look positively feral.

Jennie
June 1979

I remember turning five. I remember it distinctly, although I don’t remember anything much from before then. But I remember that on my fifth birthday I got a record from my aunt and uncle that had songs from Sesame Street, including the Letter J, the Number 5 and I Love Trash. Also, I Love to Teach the World to Sing, the one with the verse in spanish.

I would dance around my living room acting out every song on the record, this record seemingly invented for me with the Letter J and the Number 5 and trash, jumping up on the white hassock on wheels, facing the large picture window with the blue and white curtains like it was a stage and I was a star and the whole entire neighborhood was watching me wondering when they would see me on the Al Alberts Showcase with all the other pretty little girls in red and white dresses and perfectly curled ringlets.

Somewhere between then and not so long after then, I realized that I would never be on the Al Albert Showcase. I don’t have much of a voice. Or dance moves. Although I did have occasional ringlets. But nonetheless, I aspired to less, less even than Al Albert and his Philadelphia variety show on Sunday mornings featuring little kids in their Easter clothes.

And I wonder if she will figure out something about herself and her possibilities between now and not so long after now.

(God, I hope not.)

Right now she thinks that everyone will want to be her friend. And so everyone does. Random people on the beach, the people in the grocery store, the kids at school, even her sister’s friends, they all want to hold her hand. I have had people thank me for bringing her to the grocery store because she made their day, just being there. Like, more than once.

She is effervescent, glowing, with pearly skin and golden hair and the ability to ride the same two-wheeler three miles as her six-year-old siblings ride. In the last few months she has begged me to teach her to read and to play the piano, and so I have, and so now she does those things, too. Yesterday she swam the length of the pool with no help. She dove right in, head curled forward, toes splayed out behind.

Absolutely invincible  June 2015

Absolutely invincible
June 2015

Today she is absolutely invincible.

It is 11:56 pm now and there are just four more minutes of the in-between.

It is June, and there are only two and a half more months before she begins kindergarten, heading into all-day school with the other three.

Then in thirteen short, short years she will graduate from high school. Then three months later she will likely leave for college.

I will fold that Hello Kitty blanket and tuck it in her special box. I will walk through her bedroom wondering when she will fill it again. Will she come home for Thanksgiving? How long will those three months between dropping her off at her freshman dorm and November break seem? How will she see herself then? What dreams will she chase?

It is midnight and the little girl who poses for the camera, who glows and shimmers, runs and struts to catch up, she is no longer four, not even one dot. Tomorrow she will be nothing but five.

May she unfurl those tendrils and curl towards the light, stretching and growing and forever invincible.

(Happy birthday, my little baby girl.)

Making a wish June 2015

Making a wish
June 2015

Advertisements

378 comments on “Tomorrow She is Never Again Four Years Old (Not Even One Dot)

  1. lizjensen7
    July 9, 2015

    Reblogged this on lizjensen7.

  2. pcoleman1023
    July 9, 2015

    I’m in tears at 1:20am, thinking about my beautiful 4 year old daughter who will be 5 this year. Your description of this moment in her life in comparison to what you remember in your childhood is remarkable on all accounts. It was a wonderful read. I can see I may have missed her birthday, so happy belated birthday to your beautiful 5 year old.

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Ah, what sweet words. While you’ve missed her birthday, you haven’t missed her actual birthday party. How late am I on all things?!
      Thanks so much for dropping by and for your kind comment.

  3. kristene3268
    July 9, 2015

    Time sure does fly

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Really that should have been the name of this whole blog, because it’s about 80% of what I post about. Time is flying. Time is flying.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Krista
    July 9, 2015

    Your title brought a tear to my eye!!! Great piece 🙂

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Thanks for appreciating the title. Strangely, I can never quite remember the actual title. I was trying to tell my husband about it, “I think it was called “She’s No Longer Young, Not One Dot?” And he was like, “What in the world does that even mean?” Ha!
      And thank you for dropping by.

      • Krista
        July 15, 2015

        Ha ha it was “Tomorrow She is Never again 4 years old”

  5. tsangoe
    July 9, 2015

    What date was this written

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Interesting question, although an unusual comment. As it’s summer here, I have zero sense of time, but I can tell you it was written the night of her actual birthday, I proofed it the next morning and posted it either that day or the next.

      • tsangoe
        July 14, 2015

        I just wanted to know the actual date because it could of been my birthday as well

  6. HappyFamily
    July 9, 2015

    Happy birthday to your daughter. Birthdays are so bittersweet. You did a great job of capturing it.

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Thank you. Capturing these moments is exactly what I’m always chasing. They slip by all too fast.

  7. momphilosophy
    July 10, 2015

    beautiful

  8. Ruxy
    July 11, 2015

    They grow and they grow and they don’t look back, and they don’t stop to reminisce until much much later. Until then, it’s our job to do that. Loved it, and hated it too because my former four-year-old wonder is now ten and when I wake up tomorrow morning she’ll probably be twenty. Scary…

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Right? I think this little girl has aged about eight years since I wrote it.
      This week I spent over an hour at the checkout counter trying to figure out how to buy a very specific kids’ kayak for my son’s eighth birthday using random gift cards and store credits we’d accumulated for the purpose. It was one of those nightmare moments where I said to one of the store managers, “You don’t understand. I can NOT leave this store without a kayak.” and I got the chokey voice. By the end of the fiasco all the kids were beyond annoyed and I turned to the manager and said, “No one will ever thank me for the weeks it has taken me to make this happen.” She looked at the kids and said, “Not until they’re thirteen at the earliest. And by then you’ll have bigger issues to worry about.” Cringe.
      (Thanks for commenting.)

  9. Phoebe Thomasson
    July 11, 2015

    Beautiful. This makes me appreciate the inherent strength and perfection of my four year old. A time to cherish it seems…In between the moments of naughtiness, I must remember that there is a beautiful, strong, whole soul. Unbroken by the world. Thank you.

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Wow. This comment is a blog post in itself. Beautiful.
      Thank you for commenting.

  10. Phoebe Thomasson
    July 11, 2015

    Reblogged this on PAN GALACTIC STATION and commented:
    Lest I forget to enjoy this coming year with my 4 year old! This is stunning writing. Just beautiful. I feel the passing of time as a bittersweet experience….no wonder I find birthday’s somewhat traumatic….you’ll get what I mean by reading on…

    • jgroeber
      July 13, 2015

      Thanks so much for the gorgeous intro and for the reblog.

  11. Mother Clanger
    July 11, 2015

    What a lovely pondering. I, too, have sat and watched my little ones sleep and think of the too-few years that will see them grow from my lap to my arms to my hands and finally to my fingertips.

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      Ah, thank you for dropping by. It’s amazing how the time slips by.

  12. lafriday
    July 12, 2015

    Beautiful. My “little” girl will be a quarter of a century next month, but my memories of those precious days are equally poignant. It is wise that you look into the future as their behaviors, braveries and failures are all breadcrumbs as they journey toward tomorrow. Enjoy every age–they are all magical. Even almost 25.

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      This comment is like its own blog post, its own essay. Twenty-five years, both an eternity, and barely tomorrow. I love the braveries and failures like breadcrumbs- I will follow carefully. Thank you for these words and for reading.

  13. noel0233
    July 12, 2015

    Reblogged this on frombeachestomountains.

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      Thanks for the reblog (and what an enticing blog name.)

  14. zahraih
    July 13, 2015

    Time flies !!

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      Too fast, too fast.
      (Thank you for stopping by and for commenting.)

  15. amylou10
    July 13, 2015

    Wow, how quickly the baby in the nursery at the hospital has become a little girl keeping her mom on her toes with her innocence antics born out of curiosity

  16. amylou10
    July 13, 2015

    Wow, how quickly the baby in the nursery at the hospital has become a little girl keeping her mom on her toes with her innocence antics born out of curiosity

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      Yes, exactly. From nursery to kindergarten to high school to the real world.
      Thank you for reading and for commenting.

  17. camelip
    July 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Camelia Angels.

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      Thank you for the reblog and for reading.

  18. AJoyFullHome
    July 14, 2015

    So beautiful! With my 4 year old little girl’s 5th birthday coming much to quickly this made me tear up. How time goes by so fast. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and cherish this time I have with my little girl.

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      The birthdays sneak up and then slip by like thieves in the night. Enjoy that fifth birthday!
      Thank you for reading and for commenting.

  19. Great post! Thank you for sharing. Each day is a gift.

    • jgroeber
      July 20, 2015

      Each day IS a gift. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  20. oktavias
    July 19, 2015

    Reblogged this on oktavias8010.

  21. avahandchloe
    July 21, 2015

    My daughter turned 5 last month she’s my oldest so it realy hit me, love this

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      Ah, those sweet little girls growing old before our very eyes. It gets to you.
      Tonight we were driving as the moon rose and she looked out the window and said, “The moon is glowing cheese.” I hope there’s a glowing moon cheese near you tonight, too!

  22. ywwp
    July 22, 2015

    thats so nice composition and good reading experience.. regards http://yourwellwisherprogram.wordpress.com

  23. Cayse Charron
    July 22, 2015

    I can relate so clearly to this post. I had the same emotion, the same ‘oh my gosh, I only have 13 more summer vacations with her before she leaves for college and spreads her wings’ thoughts. Mine was when my daughter turned 6 and she would never again be a baby through 5yrs. I cried and cried. My daughter is now 11 and I feel like I am on a fast roller coaster ride and before I know it- the ride will be over. I am hanging on for all I have and enjoying every minute.

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      I love this comment. You are in my brain. I have three modes: 1. Being exhausted by them 2. Being in the moment with them 3. Lamenting, lamenting, lamenting. (Please note the repetition here. LAMENTING!) It’s an odd balance, for sure. And definitely a roller coaster. Watch for more lamenting posts when I actually drop her off on her first day of school. Egads!
      Thank you so much for your comment.

  24. MrKnowBody
    July 22, 2015

    Never ever again the same age. So hard to take

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      Right?! Me aging I can sort of take. 45 isn’t that far off of 40 really. But five to six to… Ten?! Impossible to take.
      Thanks for reading.

  25. kimberlysmyth
    July 23, 2015

    This was a beautiful story, so poignant and sweet! Happy birthday to your little one!

  26. She-Ra
    July 23, 2015

    Beautifully said 🙂

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      Thanks so much. So glad you stopped by.

  27. Pingback: U2 Can Have Your Cake and Eat It… Too | jen groeber: mama art

  28. zenmamalove
    July 26, 2015

    What a beautiful post. It made me well up, I’m not gonna lie. Thank you for sharing. I try and cherish every day I have left of my son’s 4….that helps with the “less than stellar days”… Even with those….I just want it to slow down!!!!

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      Yes, even the bad days I could slow down. At least that’s what I believe at 10:14 at night as they slumber upstairs. It’s midday that it’s hard to remember to savor the minutes. Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting.

  29. Zimm
    July 28, 2015

    As I read this, I keep thinking to myself; “Damn they grow up fast.” As a mom of three (previously 4), I watch my children grow up and just wish they wouldn’t do it so fast. It seems like yesterday that my youngest was born. She’s now 7 months old, rolling over, trying to walk and talk, etc. Time just flew by and she grew up way to fast. I also have a daughter who’s about to be seven and just graduated kindergarten this past school year. For me, it’s hard to believe she’s going into the first grade. My son, who’s been gone since he was three months, will be four in march and he’s grown up so much in that time! (A lot of things are explained on my blog). Either way, that being said every time they change a year, or get a year old, my heart breaks a little inside because they just grow so fast and become independent. All that being said… I can relate to this post and I enjoyed it. Just thought I’d share a bit about my kids with you as well.

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      Thank you for this. I’ll check out your blog tonight.
      It’s bizarre how much more they seem to change with the passage of time than we do. Is that crazy to believe? I still feel like 7th grade me some days. But I feel like my daughter doesn’t even sound like the little girl she was at four or three.
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

  30. Dotwiz
    July 28, 2015

    NEVER THE SAME DAY TWICE-LOVED THIS X.

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      Truly. While I complain of feeling a Grounghog’s Day sort of redundancy to our schedules and habits, each day really does tick incrementally towards their eventually leaving. Sigh.
      Thanks for reading.

  31. D.S. Roldan
    July 29, 2015

    happy birthday 🙂

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      And what a birthday it was! Click on the U2 post to see her Doc McStuffins cake. 😊
      Thanks so much for reading.

  32. markdewitt
    July 30, 2015

    Reblogged this on Mark DeWitt and commented:
    What a touching story of childhood, and the precious moments we can grab hold of.

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      Thanks for the kind words and the reblog, Mark.

  33. dutchmomamericandad
    July 30, 2015

    Love this! Glad to read there are more parents out there that think like this 🙂

    • jgroeber
      July 31, 2015

      I can’t promise to feel such sentimental, kind-hearted things when she’s whining, then crying, then screaming to be carried down the steps. Ha! But once they’re in bed and I can finally sit down, yes, I think sweet thoughts about my children.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  34. OnceUponAMommysTime
    August 4, 2015

    I still find it hard to believe my first born is starting 1st grade this year, and after just having my first and only little girl 2 weeks ago, I cherish every minute of just watching her sleep and holding her knowing how quickly she will be running circles around me and starting her own little life while needing me less and less. Thanks for the read. From one mommy blogger to another I hope to one day reach as many people as you have.

    • jgroeber
      September 19, 2015

      Thank you. And I’m absolutely jealous that you have a newborn right now. And that you know enough to record every bit of it. It really has flown by all too quickly.

  35. The Magic and Madness of Motherhood
    August 12, 2015

    Beautifully written! You bought tears to my eyes.

  36. dgthejourney
    August 17, 2015

    It’s beautiful, a lovely tribute to your daughter. This started me thinking that I should start a blog about my granddaughter. Keep on writing it’s straight from the heart.
    .

    • jgroeber
      September 19, 2015

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Write it all down. It slides away too darn quickly. (And I bet if you have a granddaughter you already know that better than I do!)

  37. jimicop
    August 18, 2015

    Reblogged this on Crazy On The Farm and commented:
    Precious!! Good job of soaking in those fleeting moments. So many times they are whisked away and we didn’t take time to savor them…even for a dot!

    • jgroeber
      September 19, 2015

      Yes, exactly. Too many things slipping by. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  38. 1shermayne
    August 31, 2015

    That was beautiful and well written. Keep the dream a reality.

    • jgroeber
      September 19, 2015

      Thanks for that sweet comment.

  39. Pingback: The Summer of Enough | jen groeber: mama art

  40. therealityofbetrayal
    September 3, 2015

    This is beautiful, my son turned 2 not long ago and I felt the same about how different the 1 yr old to 2 yrs old age gap is, really not a baby anymore. It sounds like you’ve completely and utterly made the most of her and her 4yr old self. Enjoy the 5yr old.

    • jgroeber
      September 19, 2015

      I am enjoying my five-year-old. I already can’t believe how much she’s grown and changed. She just scored her first goal in soccer. How in the world did that happen?!
      Enjoy that two-year-old.

  41. Pingback: Learning to Go It Alone | jen groeber: mama art

  42. jogonmum
    December 10, 2015

    Just beautiful! Made me well up and smile at the same time. What gorgeous heartfelt words. It goes so fast – my big girl is 6 now and my baby boy will be 4 in Feb! xxx

What? I'm totally listening. Tell me. No, really, tell me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,321 other followers

Follow jen groeber: mama art on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: