(Please insert the sound of a seatbelt buckling. Thank you).
It's not that I don't want her to grow up. Let me just put that out there.
It drives me nuts when I hear other moms whine, "I just want him to be my baby forever." or "Why can't she just stay little and cute?" Because life doesn't work that way. My ultimate goal as a parent is to raise my child to be a completely independent, self-sufficient, contributing member of society. I am proud to watch my kids learn independence. I don't equate my own self-worth with how much I do for my kids, but rather in how much I am able to help them learn to do for themselves.
But the other night, as I watched Bear dress for her school dance, something was bothering me. I couldn't nail it down. Was I turning into one of those pathetic keep-her-my-baby-forever moms? I mean, Karma's a bitch and all. It would be just like Her to have me turn into one of these women I've devoted years of sarcasm to making fun of. (Yes, it's a dangling preposition. Deal with it. I'm ranting here).
It's really not even that I'm not looking forward to parenting a teenager. I used to teach high school. I like teenagers. I like watching them figure out who they are and helping them to work through those tough choices that ultimately lead to them developing their own beliefs and sense of self.And it's certainly not about me feeling old. I'm more comfortable with who I am at thirty-eight than I ever was in my twenties or, God forbid, teens.
No, what it is, when I delve way down to the root of the matter, is that while I expected her to grow up, I was in no way prepared to have her start looking like a teenager. Holy smokes. I am equal parts proud and slightly nauseous when I look at my lovely, graceful girl.
Does that make sense?