Last Saturday we took your brother and you to Soak City and Knotts Berry Farm as a last hurrah before school started up again. As your Dad and Wesley jetted off to Banzai Falls to race down the slides, you told me you wanted to go into Tidal Wave Bay. Tidal Wave Bay is your typical wave pool. It starts off shallow for the babies to splash around and at the end is for the bigger kids, going down to six feet deep. So with the soundtrack of my childhood blaring in the background (Paula Abdul, you will always be Straight Up to me) and the heat of the sun daring me to not go in the water, I looked at your sweet face and said, “Okay.”
This summer is the first time you have been tall enough to forgo a life jacket in the pool. You have semi-learned how to swim and found your inner fish. You light up every time you dive into the water and flash that rare grin when you come up for air, asking me, “Did you see that, Mom?” The more you swim, the more confident you become. And the farther you go out, the larger my panic is. You inch out and I say, “Not so far, Scarlet.” You move another foot, daring me to say no. I try not to say anything, letting the control slip through my fingers. I tell myself I don’t want you to get hurt and it’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s the people around you. I hold my breath when you jump with a wave and come out on top. I hold my breath when one knocks you over, waiting for you to emerge.
With each birthday you have, I marvel at how much you have grown. You are starting to assert yourself with your Dad and I, testing boundaries. You want to wear makeup but don’t care that “less is more.” You want more freedom on the internet but don’t understand how powerful it is. Sleepovers and friends are becoming a major part of your life. You are so free with your friends that I sit back and smile at how happy you are around them.
You are sensitive and won’t be pushed into doing anything, going at your own pace (I am currently building a bomb shelter for your teen years). “Oh snap!” is a new favorite phrase. You continue to love school, even earning the title “math wizard” at the end of second grade. Your love of reading is still there but a game on the Kindle is preferable. Macaroni and cheese is still your food of choice and you are relentless in your quest for sweets. Teen Beach Movie still holds a place in your heart but you have added Teen Beach 2 and Descendants to the library.
After 30 minutes in the wave pool, you decide you want to go on Sunset River, aka the Lazy River. Letting out a sigh of relief, I immediately agree. Taking a break from watching you go out further and further in the wave pool is fine by me. I know I can’t stop you from growing up, my Scarlet, but I am going to need a life jacket for just a little bit longer.
Happy Birthday my girl.