Last night, in the midst of a noisy storm, you cuddled up to me and fell asleep, little sleeping breaths blowing on to my neck. You’re far taller than you used to be, and your toes reach almost to my toes now too. Soon, I think, I’ll be forced into wearing platform shoes just so I can see over your head.
Where did the time go, darling? You have hobbies now, like taking photographs and writing stories (both make me grin). You have opinions and the ability to make choices, which you do, on your own.
You disagree with me sometimes, and take a moment to explain your feelings. You choose your own path on certain things, and are unafraid to tell me how you feel.
Last night, before we clambered into bed for a sweet snooze, we spoke for ages on how you felt about your life and the things you’d prefer not to have in it, and the things that make you so happy you could pop.
I realised, inbetween our little explanations of things, that I hope the lessons I’ve imparted to you (sometimes, I know, the wrong way around), stick with you. As the butterfly you are, just starting to stretch your wings, I hope I’ve given you a good flightpath to test out your wingspan.
So much of your life learning is now beyond my control. As other things take over your time, like your hobbies, friends and school, I realise I’m in that weird state of letting go…and I realise now that I’m not ready. But…that’s not important. You are.
You’re excited for a big life, an adventure and a lot of learning. You’re thrilled by the idea of things to do, people to meet and the possibilities that lead you to understand new things.
But, as you cuddled into me last night, and I wondered how the time has gone so quickly, I realised…that you could be 6 foot tall and I’d still see you as my baby. The funny little girl who once threw Smarties in the air and shouted “Mom, Smartie-rain!” You’re still the little cherub who couldn’t understand why gumboots need to be put on the correct feet, otherwise you’ll topple over.
But as I look into your eyes this morning, and you ask me where you can find the new tube of toothpaste and if I have remembered to get all the pieces together for your holiday project, and if I know when kittens open their eyes after they’re born…I realise, I’m not raising a baby anymore. Sometimes I want to yell “Go Back!” but… I’m not cuddling a toddler, or coaxing a preschooler into her sandals. I’m not even beaming over with pride on your first day of school, as you pose for photos in your too-big uniform. I have begun raising a woman.
It is the very start of raising a woman, but I am no longer raising a girlchild with pigtails and My Little Pony dreams. The very beginnings of your transformation from sweet girl into strong woman have begun.
I am at the very start of raising a woman.