The Middle Years of Childhood


I blinked and it happened. I became a parent to a 6-year-old. Gone were the infant years, the first words, first steps, and all those first milestones. Gone were the toddler years as we watched her little personality come to life and we would bask in her sassiness. Her baby face with the chubby cheeks. It did not take long for me to notice the changes when others interacted with her since growing out of those toddler years.

It really hit me when I had all three of my children in the grocery store one day.


An elderly lady and man stopped to tell me how adorable my littlest daughter was, and they stopped to admire the adventurous spirit of my 4-year-old son. Of course, reminding me to take it all in because someday I would miss it (it cannot be an interaction with a stranger if you are not given this reminder right?). In the middle of this interaction, there stood my beautiful 6-year-old daughter and not a word was said addressing her. It was as if she was invisible, and suddenly I found my momma heart hurting. No, she is not a little infant that coos anymore, or a toddler who has a dirty grin or a cute unstable walk. She is no longer the first person people rush to scoop up when we go to get-togethers or outings. But while those stages are behind her, there is still so much joy and meaningfulness to these middle years.

Our school-aged child is starting to read, she can have such meaningful conversations with others, she has a heart of gold and lets her compassion show, and while I adore her outer beauty her, inner beauty is really what completes her. She does not have a cute baby face any longer, but boy she can make you beam with pride as she accomplishes new milestones in school and as you watch her become more independent and make friends. If you stop and ask her how old she is or if she is in school, she will proudly tell you that she is in Kindergarten. You can ask her what her favorite subjects are, and one day it may be art and the next, it is music. That is the beauty of this age, she is discovering a whole new world and she wants to share her appreciation with others. She sees things so freshly as if the world is new and is just waiting to be explored. It really is contagious energy.

At first, I stopped and mourned as we said goodbye to the toddler years, but boy does my hurt swell with pride as I watch this beautiful young girl start setting her own path and discovering all the things that life has to offer. She has this beautiful ability to allow us to see the world with a fresh pair of eyes and remind us there is still so much to appreciate in this lifetime. So please do me this favor, if you see a momma somewhere with all her children, make sure to say hello to the ones who are in the middle years of childhood. While they may no longer have a baby face, you would be surprised how interactions with them can refresh your life.