She’s the firstborn of a firstborn… too much like her momma for her own good. I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming. I see my flaws in her and it makes me crazy. I see <a few> of my personality traits in her that make me smile. I love that she picked up my “to be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late” philosophy (Thank you Mr. Hejl, band director extraordinaire). I love that she finds comfort in books. I love her conviction. I love that she still confides in me, and pray daily that our relationship will stay strong. She is dependable. She is smart. She talks so quickly that it’s hard for my ears to keep up.
I didn’t know that the young woman stage would start so early. She is 11. When did 11 become so old? She is growing taller; she is a hormonal mess. I knew this day would come, but I didn’t know I would be changing just as much… Advising instead of making all her decisions for her. Still instructing, but knowing she has to believe things on her own, for herself. Yes, I’m rambling.
It’s a struggle to enter this new phase of parenting. It’s not that I didn’t think my littles didn’t have minds of their own. We’ve always tried to explain the “Why” behind things we have our children do or not do. It’s just that the age of innocence and blind faith is waning. There is a transition where kids begin to realize that their parents don’t necessarily know everything like they thought. Where they begin to challenge reasonings and ways of thinking. When they realize that I am flawed. Not perfect. The pedestal is sinking. I guess I just didn’t want them to know.
It’s a new phase where she is growing more independent. She is “youth group” age. YOUTH GROUP AGE. How did that happen? She’s forming relationships with great people – but people that I didn’t pick out for her. Didn’t set up “play dates” with. People I don’t know. The time has come for her to make her own judgements of character. To be out in the “real” world ordering and paying for her own drink at a fast food place. Do you know how scary that is to me?? What if I didn’t do a good enough job preparing her for this? I know I still influence her decisions, but what happens when she makes bad ones? I can’t protect her from them forever, even though I want to.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in boundaries. I believe in firm guidelines. In rules. In punishments & discipline. I definitely don’t think that my “rearing” time is over. I just sense things are changing and it’s scary because I feel like I’m moving into uncharted water. So, I pray to remain strong and to make the right judgment calls. I pray to continue to be a good influence in a vulnerable time in her life. I pray that she finds the right path in spite of her momma’s flaws. I pray that I will let her spread her wings… but I’m not going to push her out of the nest just yet!