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Stay Nine-and-a-Half Forever

“I wish I could stay nine-and-a-half forever.”

This was the reply from my daughter the other day when I remarked (yet again) on how tall she’s getting. My immediate thought was, ‘Nine-and-a-half? Slow down, you just turned nine!’ Then I realized she was right. Her ninth birthday was already six months ago. Where did half a year go? In another two weeks she’ll be starting fourth grade. In another nine years she’ll be starting college.

Growing up is hard to do.Life started flashing before my eyes. Not my life…hers. Instead of looking backwards, I got a quick and terrifying glimpse forwards. Things we haven’t even begun to think about started crowding my mind: pimples…bras…(gasp!) boys. Middle school, high school, and beyond. How are we going to get through all this together?

I swallowed the lump in my throat and said, “I wish you could stay nine-and-a-half forever, too, sweetie.” The moment passed, and I managed not to burst into tears. After all, we were with one of her friends, and I didn’t want to embarrass her too much by being *that* mom. But the thought drifted through the day with me, popping up when I least expected it.

The next day, I was on her case to clean her room. (Also, yet again.) I stood in the middle of the chaos and announced “I have a plan.” I knew she was overwhelmed by the mess that had been growing all summer, and there was no way she was going to get herself out of this one without some adult intervention.

Doesn't cleaning your room mean you stuff everything in your closet?

Doesn’t cleaning your room mean you stuff everything in your closet?

My plan was simple – to sit down with her one pile at a time and help her work out what things she needed to let go of and what to keep. But as I announced that I had a plan, she looked at me with such a hopeless expression, that I laughed and finished with, “A plan for your good, and not for harm.”

Remember that verse in Jeremiah?

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

OK, so maybe it’s overkill for cleaning a room (although I’d argue that God’s word is always true, even down to issues as small as room-cleaning) but in that moment I heard what I needed to hear, coming out of my own mouth. And as I thought about it later that evening, I came to see some truths that comforted my heart.

  1. There will never be a time when she is out of His sight, even though she will be more and more away from my side.
  2. I may be helpless to save her from some of the hardships of growing up, but those hardships will be what refines her character and makes her into the person that God has planned for her to be.
  3. If she doesn’t grow up, that will be the real tragedy.
  4. I’m thankful that she has a hope, and a future. I have always believed that God has a good plan for my life, even through some pretty hard times, and I surely believe He has the same in store for her.
  5. I am not in control of her life. And that is a good thing.

That night before bed, I looked up the verse, to reassure myself, although I know it by heart. Do you know what God says in the very next verse? Here it is:

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

I felt better, knowing she is in good hands. She’ll be fine. For a while maybe she won’t be, but then she will be. And that is life for all of us. Beautiful, messy, heartbreaking, and sacred. There is no way to give her an easy ride, and that wouldn’t be the best thing for her anyway. So we’ll just buckle in, throw our hands up in the air, and prepare to be terrified and amazed together.

But with all that said, I still think I’d be OK with her staying nine-and-a-half forever.

Friday Blog Finds - Felicia's Red Door Life

Friday 29th of August 2014

[…] through Pinterest, were I spend mos of my time it seems, and ran across this post by Meredith from The Palette Muse titled Stay Nine-and-a-Half-Forever. In it she discusses her 9 1/2 year old daughter and how she knows God has her under His […]

Jill @ Called To Be A Mom

Wednesday 27th of August 2014

Thanks for linking at Pintastic Pinteresting Party. Yes they grow up so fast. I pray for my sons all the time. I also pray for their future wives. I want them to have a happy life doing what God wants everyday!


Thursday 28th of August 2014

Yes, they truly are in God's hands! Thanks for stopping by...


Sunday 10th of August 2014

What a timely story, my nephew is the same age, and I was having the same thought. He's so tall, that it masks his true age. Many think he's in 5th or 6th grade and he's going into fourth. I have the lump in my throat when I realize it's auntie who will probably end up teaching him how to drive.


Sunday 10th of August 2014

How wonderful that he has an auntie like you! I'm sure you're a great encouragement to him and his parents.

Ken Dowell

Saturday 9th of August 2014

I think a child who wants to stay at the age they are at is the sign of a happy kid. My 10 year old son has expressed similar sentiment. At first I thought that meant some anxiety about growing up, but when I talked to him about it, it was really about enjoying his friends, his school and his life in general.


Sunday 10th of August 2014

Ken, I love that thought. She seems to feel the same way as your son, just happy to be who she is at the moment. That is a gift.


Saturday 9th of August 2014

This was really sweet Meredith! It must be so hard to think of your children growing up. my friends and I already talk about how tough it would be to have a teenage girl, we remember how hormonal we were all too well! It's funny that your girl wants to stay nine and a half forever, I thought kids were always looking forward to their next birthday and getting older! :)


Sunday 10th of August 2014

Yes, I'm so glad she's not in a hurry. And I remember those hormones all too well myself! :)


Creating a color-filled life. Conquering my little world one DIY project at a time. With lots of coffee and chocolate. Albuquerque NM. Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Facebook