When I began working in social media in 2001 she wasn’t born yet.
This summer whizzed past (I know I know. It will be different next year) in what seemed like a weekendandaBLINK.
She worked. I worked.
I’d pre-grieved the end of summer’s arrival.
I’d mourned in advance what I’d assumed, with the impending transition, would feel like a loss to me.
I’d (falsely) presupposed her moving from elementary school to middle school would feel like a death of sorts.
I’d subconsciously identified today as an arbitrary demarcation date for the fact everything would change and ‘grieved’ in advance the shifts I thought I saw on the horizon.
I grieved too early.
These past few weeks, as our summer wound down, life provided me multiple opportunities to experience how wrong I was.
I saw how, while tweenhood and attitude is rapidly encroaching, for these final few months of 11 she’s chosen to remain firmly in Kidville.
She may be Kidville’s oldest resident, an elder statesman of sorts, but she’s decided to hang on for a few months longer.
She still believes strangers are friends she’s just not met yet.
She now identifies her fave person as another 11 year old, but still has a fave adult and it’s I who’s been given that privilege.
She’s ‘elder’ enough to stay home alone, yet the biggest ‘worry’ this produces is if she’ll snarf all the chocolate chips in the house and I’ll only discover this fact riiiight deciding to bake.
She still begs for us to procure matching stuffs and is disappointed if we can’t find anything suitable (rather than the soon-to-be-here horrified if I arrive home post-shopping excursion waving identical items).
She is ready and desperate to become a full-fledged young woman, but reflective enough to linger a while longer on the seemingly carefree kid’dom side of life.
She’s Shrinky Dinks and Kendra Scott.
Thinx and Underoos.
For the first of what I imagine will be many times to come we simultaneously realized these nights were no longer something to be taken for granted.
After she went to bed, I reflected on a morning a lifetime ago.
She was little and I was exhausted.
As I attempted to make it through my a.m. juggling work and mamahood she trotted behind me the entire time.
When I walked—she walked.
When I paused to complete a task–she paused and mimicked my movements.
When I finally grew tired of having a tiny shadow pressed constantly to my back, side or front I asked her:
What are you doing? Why are you following me?!
I’m learning to be a woman. She responded. I’m watching you and I’m learning how to be a woman.
It’s six years later and she’s six years closer to achieving her goal.
Thankfully (and surprisingly) we’re both happy she’s chosen to linger longer on the kid-side and isn’t quite at young womanhood.