My little girl turned seven last week and if it hadn’t been for the fairy birthday cake and her exuberantly toothless smile, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.

Wasn’t it yesterday that I was bringing her home from the hospital, looking over my shoulder the whole way wondering when the staff would wise up, realize that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and try to stop me?

Wasn’t it yesterday that she was sick in the middle of the night with a fever and I held her, simultaneously praying for relief and raging at a world so unfeeling that it would continue to sleep while my baby couldn’t?

Wasn’t it yesterday that she discovered that dirt and water make one of the most glorious combinations known to mankind and that mommy really can’t get everything clean in the magic clothes machine?

Wasn’t it yesterday that “a” suddenly said /æ/ and “b” said /b/ and p­-o-t spelled pot and then somehow unbelievably, blissfully, she was reading all day long and late every night and telling me things that I didn’t even know? ("The baobab tree swells up like a balloon because it keeps water in its trunk.")

No, it wasn’t yesterday.

It was yesterday’s yesterday, and each moment takes it further into the past and her one step closer to the future.

And I find some days it is almost impossible to keep from screaming, “NO!!! Stop! Please stop growing up; please just stay little. Don’t you understand – I need you to stay little. I need you to stay little because I need you to need me.”

But on the good days, on the days that I can see past my own insecurities and neediness, on the days when I love her best, I see that God has planned a bright, beautiful future for her and all I can think is how lucky and grateful I am to be part of it.