She is young, she is old

My little lady

I’ve probably been writing about this since she was 4, thinking that back then she was such a little lady, growing up so fast.

Now at 8, I’m really very serious: She is growing up SO FAST.

(Parents of 14-year-old girls, please refrain from giving me those oh-just-wait-you’ll-see eyes.)

I still see glimpses of toddler in the crease of her neck, the rolling chub now gone but the memory remaining. But now her legs stretch for an eternity and there’s no stopping them. Sometimes she tantrums, but more and more she is giving me I-know-mom looks and every once in a while, giving me advice. (And I pray I can have the wisdom to accept it. When it’s not sassy.)

At the waterpark last week, she kept begging to go on the fast-current lazy river alone (no), and I was so nervous watching her swim by herself in the wave pool. All those tubes! She could get caught underneath! Don’t go out so deep! Be careful and watch out!

How much does she push back because I’m trying to hold on so tightly?

So when she begged, again, to get in line for the the surfing pool, the one that catapults grown men against the back wall when they get turned sideways, finally I relented. She’ll walk away when it gets to be her turn anyway, I reasoned. She’ll turn back, chicken out.

Instead, she kept moving ahead in line, waving at me with a grin, watching the young woman ahead of her fall off and decline to try again, and then she walked right in, boogie board in hand. She asked the lifeguard a couple questions, he helped her get going, and dang if she didn’t surf on that boogie board for a good two minutes.

I was embarassing myself, surely, with all the noise I was making, but I couldn’t help it and I didn’t care. That was my baby girl out there, and I felt like my heart could burst. I honestly felt tears in my eyes.

She jumped up after rolling in with the wave, saying “that was the best thing EVER!”

I was so proud. And it hurt.

Tomorrow, she is headed off to her first overnight camp, just two nights away, and she has assured me she won’t miss me. “I’ll probably be too busy, Mom.”

This is why I don’t want to know what’s coming, I don’t want a preview of her at 14 (though she herself gives me a glimpse every day). I don’t think my mama heart could take it. However. I want her to grow and be strong, she will be a woman I want to know and be friends with, I want to be the one who gives her wings, not the one who holds her back out of my own fear, my own insecurity.

Fly, baby girl. But I’ll never be too busy to miss you.


Linking with Heather.

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7 comments on “She is young, she is old

  1. Beautiful. Thanks for putting me right in the moment with you.

  2. Natalie says:

    Awe! Love this! my girl is only 18 months but I do also want her to be someone I want to be friend with. Thanks for sharing!

  3. brian miller says:

    smiles…hang in there mom….first camp is def a hard step…and its hard watching them grow up and take those steps of daring and independence….its not all bad though….

  4. oh, this made my eyes brim! my oldest is four-going-on-fourteen, and i already see glimpses of this sass and fierce independence. happy birthday.

    (and camp is The Best. she will have a wonderful time. you can do this:)

  5. Cassie says:

    Well said. I somehow miss the baby, the toddler, the preschooler almost like they were someone I knew and loved fiercely but are gone now–different enough to not be this girl that I also know and love fiercely. I do love age 8. Amelia surprises me by exceeding my expectations for her limitations daily.

  6. oh it is so hard when they grow up, isn’t it? yet it’s everything we want for them too… the turmoil of being a mother and having to let go! you handled it with grace, friend. bless you.

  7. kim says:

    love this. children, those I bore and those I teach, always surprise me with all they can do! I am ever amazed and thrilled to get to watch.