These photos knocked me sideways, somewhat. This girl is my daughter. At only three years old she towers above most of her peers and has shed all of the outer appearance of a baby or toddler. She’s a little girl. A little girl with a remarkable memory and wonderful sense of humour. She’s strong minded and so very kind. She gets very frustrated.
I understand her so well, we know each other. Her brother is, in so many ways, a mystery to me. I have always found it so easy to understand Joni’s needs and can respond to them. It scares me that she is growing up. I just want her to be ok. I don’t want her to grow up with the burden of worry that I did, feeling like she has to conform or be something she isn’t.
She is wearing a dress I found in a rare visit to a charity shop, I only went in because I saw a Smafolk t-shirt in the window in Wilbur’s size and didn’t want to walk past it. This dress made me think immediately of how my Mum used to dress me. Joni, to my surprise, loved it and called it her Sound of Music dress and has worn it all weekend. This dress made me see her in a different light. Grown up and growing in independence.
If I can do one thing for her as she grows it will be to treat her the age she is. She might appear older, taller and perhaps more able but I know that, in the safety of her home, my little girl needs to be nurtured according to her age, not the age she appears to be. If I can do that for her – offer her that security – I think she will be ok.