When you have a baby, you are thinking only of that moment. Holding her close to your chest. You feel her little fingers wrap completely around yours. You are in awe of the beauty of what you have created.
Then, someone says it so you, “Enjoy it. They grow up so fast.” And then you hear the same thing from another person..and another…and so it keeps going. You might be annoyed, but then, you blink. You look at the baby who is no longer a baby, but now a young lady.
My oldest is eleven years old. She has never been into anything girly. Although, she did do dance for a couple of years when she was younger (more at my desire than hers, which is why she only did it for two years).
She wears graphic tees and basketball shorts. She owns one maxi skirt, which she wears only when she is told she has to look nice.
She doesn’t care about how she looks. She is not vain. She doesn’t like frills, pink, or really anything “girl” at all. And I love her for it.
I love that, at the age of 11, she knows who she is. She knows what she likes. However, what she is just learning is the changes she is going through.
I don’t know when it happened, but she entered puberty. My husband and I started to notice the mood swings about a year ago (and boy – are they rough)! She is starting to experience even more changes — and growing up.
Where did that sweet baby go? Where is the 3 year old in the pink tutu? What happened to the little girl who went no where without her blanket?
She is still here. She is just a bit older. She is more mature.
While she may not be the size of a baby, she will always be my baby. She may not wear the pink tutu, but she wears what makes her feel good about herself. She may not need the security blanket, but she still needs to know I am here to keep her safe.
In these moments, when I wonder why she had to grow up and I start to miss some of the things she use to do, is when I take a moment to pat myself on the back.
She is growing up. She is becoming independent. And why is that? Because of me.
You see, when your kids grow up it’s a very bittersweet thing to watch. To see them change before you. To not need you in some ways, but now need you more in others. As they learn to let go, you realize that you have done a great job of parenting.
The idea has always been to teach them so that they can fly on their own. So that they are not going to need you one day.
It is tough to let go (trust me). However, there is something powerful and moving to know that you did it all. No handbook. No guide. You figured it out, oftentimes flying by the seat of your pants. Lots of mistakes mixed in with many triumphs.
In the end, you did it. You helped nurture this little person into the one you see before you.
No matter what else happens in this world, knowing that you’ve done this is reason enough to call your life a success.