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News from the Nest: Tiny hand, simple moments

With Christmas fast approaching, I decided to take my daughter to It's a Wonderful Night at West Acres. The kids have been talking a lot about Christmas and Santa Clause already, so I thought this would be a fun warm-up to the Holiday season. Getting her excited to go with me was a lot harder than I thought. At only three years old she doesn't really know what the mall is quite yet. As I finally explained to her that we were going to a Christmas Party, I began to think about how different this night will be for both of us in 10 years, when she is a young teenager.

At age three she was SO excited to see Santa but scared to death to touch him. She finally decided she wanted a baby Santa, one that didn't have "snow" on his face. At thirteen I'm pretty confident her eyes will be rolling circles at the mention of Santa Clause.

At age three she held my hand tight the entire time we walked through the mall. Her tiny hand in mine was so wonderful and I knew that it made her feel safe to be close to me in the swarms of people. At age thirteen I'll be lucky to keep her in my line of sight. By then I suppose I will just be the chauffeur and we'll have a time set for her to meet me when it is time to go home. And of course she'll be at least ten minutes late.

At age three she didn't ask for me to buy her one thing at the mall. We browsed a few stores but didn't spend a dime, just enjoyed the different instrument ensembles, choirs and ballroom dancers. By age thirteen I'm guessing she'll be begging me to anti-up $100-plus for the latest pair of jeans. Do you think she'll still buy the line I use on my kids now? "If you want something you better put it on your list for Santa."

At age three we spent quite a bit of time watching the fish in the big tanks at the mall. My daughter especially enjoyed seeing "Nemo" swimming around with other fish and wanted to hold him. So we had to have a talk about fish and the whole needing to stay in the water thing. At thirteen I suppose she'll either be begging for her own 500 gallon fish tank or will be in such a hurry to go to the next store that she won't appreciate the beautiful display.

At age three she was waving her arms back and forth pretending to be an Angel. Then she asked me to do it too and we watched ourselves in the mirror, Mommy Angel and Big Girl Angel as she named us. At age thirteen I'm afraid the only thing we'll be doing in the mirror together is arguing over which eye shadow is hers and which is mine. That is if I ever allow her to wear makeup, ever.

In the end we had a lovely evening. My daughter enjoyed the music, Christmas lights and, from afar, Santa. I enjoyed the tiny hand in mine, the simple moments watching fish and of course, the cheap date night with my three year old.