Wednesday, January 25, 2017

(Little) Woman Crush Wednesday: Thirteen.

Today, my oldest daughter turned thirteen. Thirteen. She's a teenager.

It's hard to imagine that the 20-inch, 8-lb infant daughter I once held so lovingly is now a 5-foot, three-inch, 120-pound young woman. She's tough and guarded, but she's got a soft side, too. She likes music and dance and art, and she even writes her own songs as a way to express her feelings. Funny how her middle name means "poet," and she grew up to be one. She loves her dog, and her baby sister. She loves to watch TV, she loves to play board games. But once upon a time, she was my baby,  unspeakably tiny little bundle with big blue eyes and a rosebud mouth.


From my journal, Tuesday May 30, 2006:
I used to write letters to my daughter. I would tell her how precious she is to me, how pretty she's getting. I'd tell her what her newest word was, what she'd been doing.

Now, my daughter is two and a half years old. She is three feet tall, and very petite. She's thin except for round cheeks that lift and perk with her smiles. She has a beautiful face with a pouting cupid's bow mouth and enormous blue eyes that are slightly slanted and thickly lashed.

She takes her panties all the way off when she goes to the potty, and because she is the one who puts them back on, they are often backwards and inside out. As a result, she wanders the apartment with the panties' tag hanging out beneath her navel, which is both innie and outie because they cut her umbilical too short. She always has at least one butt cheek hanging out, and an offer to help her fix it will offend her without fail.

She wears her favorite shoes all day, whether we leave the house that day or not, and her purple sunglasses are forever perched on the top of her blonde head. Her hair has never been cut or trimmed and it is thick but still baby fine and soft. It now reached almost to the middle of her back and she is super-proud of it. She turns willingly to have it brushed and then turns her back to everyone in the room saying, "See? Pretty!"

Her voice is high-pitched and sing-son like a sweet childhood melody and her giggles erupt from deep in her belly. They also are high-pitched and they frequently remind me of bird-song in the early mornings of spring.

Her back is smooth and straight; her stomach is already flat and somewhat chiseled. Her smile is quick, and open, and easy. Her moods are open, unhidden, and widely varied. Her favorite mood is unbridled joy, and her motto is, "Ah one dut," which means, "I want to do it!"

She is playful and my favorite thing to do is sit quietly in a corner and proudly observe what I have taught her. She can count to three but her phone number has been "six-six-five" for months now. She gently cradles her baby while she holds the phone so that "Baby" can talk, too. She loves to color and play dress-up; she's already learning to ride a real bike.

She is chatty and her vocabulary is large and varied, including words like "probably," "medicine," "poison," and "careful." She has learned her manners and she uses them; "please," "thanks," and "'cuse me." She is already using three to four word sentences on a regular basis, and her speech is getting clear enough that I rarely have to translate for her anymore.

My daughter loves pretending to read already and had a full shelf of books that she pages through on a daily basis. She caries a purse and tucks her baby in for the night. She cleans up after herself and loves to build her mommy a "big house" with her blocks. When we sit together to pray, the mention of the sacred name of Jesus is all it takes to have her bowing her head with eyes closed and hands folded.

From her pull-ups (for sleeping) to her bedroom theme, everything is all princess in our house ... just like my daughter.


Also from my journal, Saturday April 14, 2007:
Now my little one is a lot less little. She has figured out (mostly) how to get her panties on right, and if they aren't, she can now fix them herself. We have seen the end of the bellybutton/panties-tag era.

She is now something I never thought she could be ... even more opinionated! And even more beautiful. I love the way she stands up for herself now, no longer afraid to say things like, "Well, that ain't FAIR!" I can't help but be proud of her new ability to stand up for herself, to let people know when she thinks they are wrong, and that she won't stand quietly by when she or someone she loves is being mistreated.

She still cleans up after herself, and has had the potty thing down for a while now. She's probably still the same size she was a year ago, maybe slightly bigger, but she seems so much bigger now ... maybe it's just her presence that's bigger - it certainly isn't her body. My precious daughter is still about three feet tall, at just over three years old, and is still hovering around 30 pounds. She still has the same big blue eyes.

The face that was once hers had changed now; it has grown up with her and now shows a bit of her maturity. The chubby cheeks have almost given way, leaving behind a tiny little button nose and the same little mouth, sporting its little cupid's bow. The eyes are more expressive now, more mature. There is intelligence shining out of them always, and curiosity, and understanding. She still has the long hair, though she has now had her first trim. She's still so proud of her hair, and the best way to get her still to have it washed or brushed is for me to throw my hands up and say, "Well, then, let's just cut it off."

Next week, she'll almost officially be a "preschooler."

She's learned to bathe herself, almost learned to brush her own teeth, and can just about dress herself. She still has that sing-song voice, always so cheerful and perky, and her chirpy little-girl giggle are pure magic. She loves to play Mommy to anyone who will allow it; she loves dress-up and make-up.

She is a little artist in the making, and loves to color all day long! She is a story-teller, a song-writer, a care-taker, fiercely loyal to those she loves.

She's more chatty now than before, and her vocabulary has grown exponentially. Sometimes this is good, as she has learned new words to be proud of, such as "asinine" and "example" - sometimes it's something to be ashamed of, since her vocabulary also includes words like "shithead" ... but whose doesn't?


It's funny how so many things about her have changed now. She's no longer blonde, and her blue eyes have gone green (just like one of mine). She doesn't read as much, and she doesn't play with baby dolls much anymore. She doesn't say "shithead" - at least, not when I'm listening. But so many things have not changed, too - from her inner sense of independence to her eternal curiosity, to her spitfire temper and the way she always has something to say. She's still a fashionista, and sometimes she's still wildly proud of her gorgeous mane of thick curls.

This girl is growing up, finding her own way, becoming her own person - and she's doing it in a world so much different than the one I grew up in. She's navigating different waters, and she's doing it (mostly) with grace. She's a magnet for troubled kids, because beneath her crunchy-candy protective shell, she's got a soft heart that still bleeds for the sick, the sad, and the lost - and my heart? Well, it bleeds too - with pride.

She's a teenager now, just a hair taller than me, with strong legs and and an even stronger spirit. But she's still my firstborn - still the same unimaginably and indescribably incredible person she always had the potential to become. Still very much her mommy's little princess.

Just ... don't tell her that - because as she enters her teen years with lightning quickness and sizable enthusiasm, she already fancies herself a queen.



44 comments:

  1. Don't they grow too fast!! It's sad to see those things change in their personality and appearance but rewarding to see what wonderful people they are turning into!

    Sophie x
    www.sophobsessed.com

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    1. It has definitely been rewarding! It's funny to watch her grow into who she'll be, and it's interesting to see so much of myself in her.

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  2. It sounds like she is becoming a wonderful person!! <3

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  3. This is so sweet. I have a nine year old daughter and I can't believe how big she is.

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  4. This made me cry so much. I mean, I think it's because I have a little little one. And I know he'll grow up and write letters about him too. Happy birthday big girl, you are loved!

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    1. Definitely write letters! You'll be surprised what they help you remember as the years build on each other. And it's a great way to talk to your children in a way that they may not understand yet but certainly will someday.

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  5. Kids grow up too fast for the parents and to slow for them. Nice article. She seems like a great girl who will become a wonderful women. You should be proud

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    1. Thank you - I am definitely proud! She makes me crazy sometimes, but she's a really great kid and I'm so proud to be her mom.

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  6. This is very sweet and heartfelt! They do grow up so fast, I can't believe my twins are already in their twenties, building a life of their own. You're going to be so proud and at the same time, you'll find yourself missing those moments when they relied on you so much.

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    1. I think I'll miss little things, but for the most part, being able to be at home with my girls is really allowing me to enjoy and appreciate each new phase that we move into. I find that that helps me quite a lot with being able to see each phase pass away without too much sadness or nostalgia. My favorite thing about her being so much older now is the way we relate to each other differently. She's a little wisecracker now, so it's fun that we can pass jokes back and forth - and she actually gets them now.

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  7. Where does the time go! Happy birthday young lady!
    Katja xxx
    www.katnapped.com

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    1. Who knows! I swear, all I did was blink once or twice!

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  8. Everything changes and luckily your daughter has transform into a better person. Happy Birthday pretty lady!

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    1. She is definitely a great person. I'm so proud of her - and I love that she's grown up into the kind of girl who can be proud of herself, too.

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  9. Happy belated birthday to your daughter. Kids grow up so fast. Might be fun for the two of you to watch that movie 13 going on 30.

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    1. Thanks - and that's a great idea! Maybe it'll be a good Monday Movie for us!

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  10. I don't have kids yet, may be in the future I will live the same experience than you, I wish a happy birthday to your elegant daughter

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    1. If you want children, definitely don't hold back. They're a journey, and motherhood isn't always easy, but it is without a doubt one of the best parts of my life.

      And if you do have children someday, maybe you'll write your own letters to them or about them. Let me suggest that if you do, you save them to look back on.

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  11. It's so amazing to see them grow up. My oldest is 13 and now taller than I am. It's bitter sweet but I am so proud. <3

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    1. It's crazy how that happens, isn't it? They look up to you for so long, and you learn to love looking down into their little faces. It's a little disconcerting to realize that you've switched places, and you're now the one looking up.

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  12. They grow so fast!!! Happy birthday to your amazing daughter, may she grow up to be the queen she already is.

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    1. They definitely grow up fast! And I'm sure she will always be a queen - I just hope she never settles for less than being treated like one.

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  13. Kids just grow up so fast! Hope you can spend as much time with you can with her while she's still young. Happy birth-day. :)

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    1. That's the plan - I know that one day she won't be as much of a part of my daily life, and that she'll be busy building a life of her own. Not that I'll ever not be her mom, but she'll have her own partner someday and her own family, and I won't be tucking her in anymore. So I'm just making the best of the moments we have. It's never far from my mind, the idea that these moments are fleeting.

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  14. so sweet! I'm regularly reminded that kids grow up fast!

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    1. Haha! I didn't hit beast mode until around 15-16 ... I'm hoping her teen years will be merciful. I know hard days are coming though, for sure, and I'm looking forward to seeing the hardest parts in the rearview.

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  16. What a touching post! I really loved reading how you describe your daughter when she was little and how she is growing up now. Happy Birthday to her!

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    1. Thank you. She's one of my most favorite people, so it's only fair that she be spoken of in love - at least on her birthday. But don't ask me to describe her on a day when she's gotten herself grounded! *wink*

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  17. Aww they do grow up fast! Sucha sweet post.

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    1. They certainly do! Thank you for reading!

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    1. Aww, thanks! I'm glad it's been so well-liked.

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  19. kids grow up so fast it seems. my oldest just turned 14 a couple weeks ago and it still seems weird to me.

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    1. Yeah I'm definitely still adjusting to saying things like, "My teen ..." because it means OMG-I-Have-A-TEEN!!! Honestly though, I'm enjoying it at this point (so far) because we have a whole new way of relating to each other. I like that where I've always been MOM, now I can also step into a role of being FRIEND/MENTOR, and I think both of us are enjoying the transition.

      Not that I plan to stop momming her, and she's well-informed that I retain my mom card for future use at any time ... but it is nice to be able to just sit and chat with her too, as she finds her sense of maturity.

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  20. I have a little cousin (who I call my niece) who is already 7 months!!! They grow so fast! I wish they wouldn't, I love her so much and wish she would stay small!

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    1. I have found that because it does go so fast, it is SO important to just enjoy every moment to the best of your ability. Enjoy the diapers and the tiny clothes and the bottles, because soon they'll be gone. Then you enjoy the clumsy toddling and the toddler-ese that no one can understand, and then messy nature, and the unhindered honesty, because soon those things will be gone too. Each new phase has its challenges, but also its blessings - even if you're not the mama.

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  21. Aw its so crazy how quickly they grow! My girlfriend's son just turned 8 and I remember when he was just a behbeh!

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REAL CHARACTERS. HONEST LOVE. BRANDI KENNEDY BOOKS.