The subtle transition from infant to something more advanced snuck up on us. One day Grace was sitting in her high chair being spoonfed pureed green beans (nummy) and the next day she's Brett Favre, flailing fully-formed beans across the kitchen. The quarterback comparison suits her because those tosses are often intercepted (by a pug : ) Her appearance has changed from having just enough fine hair to cover her little noggin to sporting wavy curls which are often in pigtails. Grace has gone from watching the pug do ... well, whatever it is that pugs do in their free time ... to interacting with her, encouraging her to chase, share her meal or come downstairs to play.
All this has has made me realize, and this may sound odd to some, but I don't see Grace as being mine. By that I mean the following: When I watch Grace, I see her as this little individual person learning, chatting, absorbing the world around her. Sure, I'm her mom and need to parent her by giving her direction and guidance, but it's her individuality that makes me feel the most like a mom. When she puts a bucket on her head or hands me a sample of the substance coming out of her always runny nose or runs after a ball saying "giggity-giggity" like a crazy little wind-up toy, I am proud. Sometimes grossed out too, but still proud : )
This pride is often mixed with those melty mom moments when I realize how much she's made me grow. This often happens at bedtime. As I cradle and cuddle her in my arms before placing her in the crib, I am now aware that this tall girl will soon be too big to be held that way. While she might outgrow my cuddle capacity, she'll never outgrow the space she's created in my heart for her.