So it’s happening.
After the years of sleepless nights, of long cuddles, giggles and tickles, endless batches of pancakes, baking disasters, painting chaos, crazy hair days and so much closeness…things are changing. You just turned 10, and…I won’t lie…it’s all come as a bit of a shock to me. I really wasn’t expecting things to change this fast, and certainly not so soon.
10!!! Practically a baby still. Except…not. You are suddenly different. Distant. You often take yourself off to your room. You want to be alone. You spend hours in your bedroom – reading, experimenting with make up, listening to music, FaceTiming your school mates. And me? All of a sudden I am not the most important thing in your life anymore. It seems like 5 minutes ago that you constantly demanded my attention. You wanted me to help, you wanted me to look, you wanted me to kiss better, you wanted me to do. From the minute I fetched you from school you chattered. A long stream of chitchat that was both exhausting and so endearing. I confess that there were (very occasionally) days where I escaped to the bathroom desperately seeking 5 minutes peace. Where I groaned when I heard you stampeding up the stairs behind me, still chattering away. But mostly I loved it. Now? Now I crave it. I puff up when I hear your footsteps coming towards me and I deflate when you pass my door and head into your room. Now you only want to be alone. And let me be clear – this is a good thing!! You are confident. You are independent. You are brave and you are going to go so far in life and I am so proud of you.
But it still hurts.
Yesterday I wandered into your room to say good morning and found you dressed all in black. From head to toe. There was a time when I winced at your choice of colours. A massive clash of bright colours and bold prints, yet suddenly those have vanished without a trace and your choices have become far more subdued. Almost adult. Rather than wearing whatever makes you happy you are suddenly spending hours weighing up your options. You are aware that other people will be formulating opinions, and possibly expressing them – sometimes unkindly. You are becoming careful. Self conscious even. Your innocence is shattering and the real world is starting to intrude far too soon.
How I miss those bright colours. I miss the diatribes. I miss the carefree grins. I miss you singing at the top of your lungs without caring who could hear you. I miss you asking me to help, to look, to kiss better and to do. I miss being needed.
All this his time people have been telling me how fast time goes. They have been telling me to “enjoy this special time”. I can’t even count how often I was warned that “It goes by so fast”, and though I nodded and agreed and smiled in all the right places I had no idea. None. When your child is a baby or a toddler everything seems to go. so. slowly. Each night seems like an eternity and many days (and nights) are actively wished away.
But now I get it. That part of my journey with you is over. And I need to grieve for it…I need to grieve for my carefree little girl with the irrepressible giggles. For the bouncy curls and the terrible (but adorable!) dress sense. For the mispronounced words (“Farmer Christmas” and “strawbabies”..be still my heart!) and the sheer, beautiful innocence and egocentricity of youth. But at the same time I know that all is good and that this is the way it is supposed to be. I am so very privileged to be going on this journey with you, and I am so grateful that I get to watch you grow into the amazing young lady that you will be soon. And I say again I am so fiercly proud of the young lady you are becoming.
I wasn’t expecting any of this yet. I really thought I had a few more years of childhood in the bag. But times are changing and this is the reality I am facing right now.
Be patient with me as we find our way through this new ground. I know it’s so easy to assume a parent has all the answers but I really don’t. This is all just as new to me as it is to you and it won’t always be easy but we will find our way together.
I love you so very much my precious child. Thank you for being you.