Baby Girl in the Big Wide World

When my Little Meems was born, we used to lay her between us on the bed and just look at her preciousness, and say "baby girl in the big wide world."

I don't know.  It's just one of those things you do and say.  You see, she was such a little thing, with (already) a big personality and a disarming charm.  She wasn't the cutest baby.  I can say that now that she's older, but it was true.  Cat eyes, huge fat baby cheeks, her nose somehow swollen from her time in the womb, and baby acne, all on a little pea head.  As much as I adore her and to me she's precious in every way and always has been, some of  her baby pictures will make you shudder.  Let's be honest, we don't all have beautiful children.  Or, rather, we do, but sometimes they're more beautiful to us than they are to others.

Of course, now I think she's the prettiest little girl ever.  Even at the advent of her awkward phase, which I was worried about, because I was an awkward looking child.  Just ask my dad.  Her big sparkly eyes, bouncy curls and dimples, and the disarming charm -- she turned out OK, grew into everything and now gets compliments on her complexion.

Today, for the first time ever, she rode her bike ALL BY HERSELF, down to her friend's house.  She's done it before, with her older brother, but never alone.  I asked her if she wanted to, or if she'd rather I drive her and of course she exploded into a dimpled frenzy.

I gave her explicit instructions about cycling safety and stranger safety.  The truth is, she wasn't going to be out of sight of a grownup watching her, as when I couldn't see her any more, her friend's mom could.  But there's a street which is an entrance into our neighborhood, and as such it gets more traffic.  Usually teenagers going too fast.  Her dad came outside to ask me if I thought this was a good idea.  Despite my misgivings and an overwhelming desire to scoop her up and never put her down, I assured him I thought it was.  Even though I wasn't so sure myself.

I watched her bundle up in her leggings, new fleece hoodie and her pink helmet.  Her braids hanging to her shoulders, she pedaled away as fast she could on her big purple bike.  I watched her all the way down the street, becoming a little breathless as she reached the intersection...and was so very amazed by and proud of her for following my safety rules.

And I started to cry.

Because there goes my "baby girl...out into the big wide world."


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