My little girl is growing up. I have to admit I have mixed emotions about this. She is entering that new territory that I cannot protect her from. She will fall in love with boys only to have them break her heart. She will agonize about her appearance. She will also have those amazing highs that a cute boy bring when he looks at you. Part of me wants her to stay my little girl and never grow up, but part of me is excited for the new and exciting road she is now on.
Last week was a big milestone for Grace. She had her very first semi- formal dance at school. She was so excited. We went out to buy her dress. The first dress she tried on was "her" dress. She tried on others, but that first one was "hers". Out of the store she walked, carrying that garment bag, a glowing big smile on her face. When we got into the car I thought that Christopher was going to cry. "I don't want my baby girl to grow up." he said mournfully under his breath. I think that was the first time that it had occurred to him that our little girl was growing up.
Thursday night was "THE NIGHT". We did her hair, put on a little make-up. She looked so beautiful, so grown up. She was excited for an amazing night out with her friends. Her friend's mothers and myself had collaborated to surprise the three of them. One of the perks of working for a funeral home that owns its own limousine is that you can borrow it. We kept it a secret until Christopher pulled up in the limo. The other mothers and I had told the girls that they were meeting at our house so that we could get pictures of the three of them together. They radiated excitement as those three big girls climbed into the back of that big car. They drove off into the winter night.
That night I thought about Grace the whole time that she was gone. I prayed that she was having a wonderful time. I prayed that she had not written her own script for the evening only to be devastated if it did not play out. She had gone into it with an amazing attitude. She was going to have a dressed up night out with her best friends. There was never any talk of boys. Please don't let her get her heart broken. That was my mantra as I went about my evening chores.
I thought back to myself at her age. How I wish that I had had her attitude. I always felt like such an ugly duckling. I looked in the mirror and saw a pretty girl, but that was never reflected back to me by the boys that I so desperately wanted to notice me. My self worth came not from myself, by from outside of myself. If no boys thought I was pretty, then I must be worthless. I remember writing that internal script for dances. My script saw that cute boy I had a crush on asking me to dance. I spent my every spare moment emotionally investing in that script, willing him to come over and ask me to dance. When I would come home, script unfulfilled, my heart would ache like an open wound. Again and again I would repeat the same process, reaping the same results, never learning.
The hours that Grace was away seemed to stretch on forever. Please don't let her come home with a broken heart. She sailed in through the door that night, floating on air. "I had the most fun night!" Her little face shone brightly with joy. She had spent the night dancing and having fun with her friends. She had not written some stupid internal script, other than that she was going to have a fun night with her very best friends. She had slow danced with a boy, and that made her happy. She did not have them dating, getting married, creating some ridiculous romantic fantasy. She was just happy that a boy had asked her to dance and that she had an amazing night with her friends.
I know the day will come that some little
jerk boy will break my baby's heart, it happens to the best of us. I now think that she has a good head on her shoulders and that she will take it for what it is, growth. Maybe I have protected my baby after all. Maybe we have fostered her sense of self, and maybe she is happy with who she is. Maybe the best protection that I can give her is to foster her self-esteem and a healthy sense of self. I guess that only time will tell.