These past few years have been so fueled by angst, change and growing pains; that I haven’t embraced this age for the beauty that it is. I’ve spent more time mourning the loss of the little-ness that is slowly disappearing than Celebrating my Growing Tween. In just over a month she turns 10, she hits double digits. It doesn’t sound that old, I know. But trust me, it’s significant. The battles have begun over stealing my shoes, wearing lip gloss to school and shaving legs . . . the list goes on. Just as her baby teeth wiggle and fall away, so do the moments of her childhood. More than half of her teeth are adult. That hardly makes her mature, but like sand in an hourglass, it’s a visual reminder.
Today I’m Celebrating my Growing Tween. I’m celebrating the amazing young lady she’s becoming and the changes that come with our bond. She is slowly becoming less of my ankle biter side kick and more my lifelong companion. One day she will be my adult daughter giving me advice. I’m not going to say that I see the light at the end of the tunnel but I plan to enjoy it as much as I can.
We are starting to have more in common. She digs better TV! And books! I no longer have to feign my excitement for crap kid TV. She loves Shark Tank, Fixer Upper, Blackish, The Goldberg’s and Stranger Things. She’s becoming less of someone I have to coddle and more of someone I take notice of.
She still cares what I think. She even asks my opinion and wants to know about how I handled things when I was growing up. She recently asked me if her Dad was my first boyfriend. “No”, I told her. “But more importantly he was my last.” I realize how much everything I say to her really matters. I’m challenged to choose my words wisely. Through it all I’m learning how to live my life more genuinely by teaching her that no one’s life is as perfect as they would like you to believe it is.
She’s still a little kid. She still sings herself to sleep. She plays Barbie’s, Lego’s and Minecraft. She still takes pride in drawing a masterpiece, and coloring with her sister. She still comes to my bed when she has a nightmare and wants nothing more than a long cuddle at the end of each day.
Together we have better social opportunities. Parks and play dates are still a mainstay but now there is more. Camping, overnights with Girl Scouts, and concerts! Along with friends, I recently took her to her first concert: Meghan Trainor. I watched her face light up as she saw her favorite artist dance and sing on stage. I watched her celebrate with her friends the excitement of the show. We created a big memory that night. One I’m certain she will never forget. One she had to hide from her baby sister. Oops.
She’s growing up. She totally gets my sarcasm and mildly inappropriate humor. She talks non-stop. Holy crap does she talk. That has only accelerated with age. She tells me every detail she has mentally planned for her future wedding. From the Rapunzel style lantern release to the Hawaiian black sand beach she plans to say her vows on. She tells me about the names she’s picked for her kids and how having twins is “the way to go”. She tells me about the spats she has with her friends and how happy it makes her when her teacher writes “have a nice weekend” on the board. I giggle with her, and never squash her dreams. I listen a lot, I laugh with her. I dream for her. I dream of a life for her that I wouldn’t have dared dream for myself. And I plan. I plan about how we are going to help her achieve it.
I look forward to the amazing stuff to come. Beyond graduations, proms and weddings. The little, big stuff. Like hearing about her first boyfriend. Seeing the look in her eyes and knowing she’s falling in love. Do you remember the first freeing feelings of hopping in your first car and going anywhere you need or want to go? Getting your first real job that doesn’t require getting coffee for anyone else? I will be vicariously reliving all those amazing moments and achievements that will be hers to be proud of. And Motherhood. How I look forward to her to become a mother. A title she has always meant to carry. Not everyone should have children but she should. Mark my words, she will be a much better mother than I.
Little by little our kids are becoming the adults they are destined to be. For the next 10 years she will be in this part child, part woman limbo. And I will enjoy as much of it as I can. These years to come will truly show me the depth of the relationships between mothers and daughters. They will hint to me the adult person she will become. Lifelong, all the challenges that have weighed heavily on her heart have weighed heavily on mine too. And I pray they always do. Emotional hormonal surges and social woes are a blessing that not everyone has the opportunity to experience. These growing tween moments are important and fleeting and worth remembering.
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