Today is a memorable day for me. It's the day that I officially bought my tween daughter her first "real" dressy tween outfit.
You see, tonight we have tickets to go see the Nutcracker. My daughter has clothes appropriate for school and for warmer days for church, but nothing appropriate for this occasion, especially in December. So we hit the mall this morning and learned several things. First, she has completely outgrown any children's clothing. Size sixteen dresses come up to her knees. Second, she's very proud of her emerging "curves" but not so much of her thicker waist. Third, she is stunningly beautiful and growing far quicker than I wish she was.
Is there any parent on the face of the earth who doesn't occasionally look at their child and wish they had the small baby or preschooler of yesteryear? Even new parents marvel at how quickly their newborns grow into infants, developing mobility and senses of humor. Every step our children take toward independence is amazing and magical to us. We forget the struggles of colic and remember the snuggly baby. We dismiss the tantrums of preschoolers and remember the excitement over this beautiful new world.
As I watched my precocious eleven-year old today, who stands as tall as me and is probably just as intelligent (even if lacking life experience), I missed the little girl who fit into the sweet children's dresses; the toddler who wore April Cornell and pigtails and sandals when we went to tea. Tonight she'll be wearing a soft cashmere ivory sweater with a buckle in the front and a black sateen skirt with rosettes. Her off black hose (her first pair) will match the black shoes decorated with rosettes as well. And as much as I miss yesterday, I'm thrilled to see the young woman she's turning into.
I still have a little girl; one who likes to play Monopoly and decorate the christmas tree and hang out to watch The Grinch. But I also have one that cleans up well and is a marvelous, magical mix of child and young adult. And as worried and anxious as I get, I am enthralled by this ever-changing person in my house.
I'm sure you are with yours, too.