It’s been a “girl-weekend.” The boys are doing Boy-Scout-Camping which means the Girl and I have taken over the house, turned on movies the boys never allow, and basically done a whole lot of…nothing. Actually, I’ve been grading and the Girl has been washing dishes, playing on Disney Infinity or Minecraft, and enjoying general levels of distractions.
The Girl is ten (she would correct me that she’s 10 3/4) because she is technical which drives me crazy. She has her own style of sass and is incredibly strong and powerful for a 10 (and 3/4) year old. We are almost complete opposites. She loves fingernail polish, the color pink, and Scooby Doo. I can’t remember the last time I wore fingernail polish (on my fingers…my toes look quite amazing right now, thank you). I know that it lasted for less than eight hours because I was clawing at my fingers because the glitter of the polish was distracting me while I graded. I’m being serious. But that’s another day’s post about the joys of having [undiagnosed] adult-ADD.
So often, the Girl is almost like an alien to me. I know that she is my daughter; I can even remember her birth (and given I can’t remember anything…this says something). But her incredible gutsiness defies my shyness and introvert-tendencies. About a month ago, she was invited to a birthday party and needed to confirm the party’s time and location. I chickened out of the phone call (I really am shy) and told her to build her communication skills and call to get the information. My incredible daughter showed me up. Without any coaching, she, indeed, calls the birthday-girl’s-mother, and my ten (and 3/4) year old transformed from a bit of an awkward child to an articulate young woman. With incredible poise, Granya held a conversation that was more than just a couple of questions and answers. Her voice shifted into a deeper tone as she easily entered, briefly, the adult world while wearing mis-matched socks.
I was so proud of her.
She is incredibly financially savvy. At this moment, she’s playing on her iPad, a device that she bought with money she rightfully earned. I’ll spend a dollar before it hits my pocket. She will pace out her spending, examine the world for what she might want, and then…wait. And wait…and wait. She knows the value of a dollar, and I never did anything to teach her.
And her sarcasm. Have I told you that my daughter is sarcastic? My father says my daughter has “spunk.” I call her a gutsy-girl. My mother’s former…supervisor/boss (?) referred to my daughter as a “power-princess.” When my husband and I were looking for names for the Girl, he chose a name not because it was pretty or had a great meaning. He chose it because it was the name for a good “Barbarian princess.” She has lived up to her name.
When the Girl was little, she referred to her blankets at “Beanies.” From there, I just started calling the Girl “Beanie” and, eventually, my little Bean. But, today, she took a true step into womanhood when we did some…clothing..shopping for her. My Little Bean is almost as tall as my shoulder and can lift me (of course, she might give herself a hernia doing it). I’m watching my daughter continue to leave behind the vestiges of childhood as she walks closer and closer to adolescence.
And then adulthood.
At times, the fact that she and I are so opposite lessens and we can come close to one another without that awkwardness that I dread. Sometimes, it’s in the early morning as I’m backing out of the driveway and the Girl is feeding the pets. I will flash my bright-lights at her three times, a simple code for “I love you.” Invariably, she will turn and flash the sign for “I love you” back at me, her fingers a bit askew and looking like askew antennae. I don’t care.
I know what she’s telling me.
This morning, she came home from a sleepover and I suddenly realized that I had missed her. Without pause, I held her close to me, almost buried her into my body. I didn’t want to turn back time and melt this developing young woman into a toddler again. I relish and love every moment I have with my children.
But it felt good to feel her little arms wrap around my waist and her high-pitched voice mildly complain that I was squishing her.
She’s a wonderful young woman, a challenging young woman, a headstrong young woman who knows who she is and lives with incredible confidence and strength. I love her passionate existence and worry, at times, that middle and high school will squash the spark that is within her.
I know that she will have her challenges and, together, we will navigate past those obstacles, likely with lots of chocolate and cheese-stuffed-crust pizza.
Just hold on, Girl. Let me catch up with you and let me walk beside you, or at least next to your shadow. I know you won’t need me all the time. But is it bad that I still need you?