She is little...

On Tuesday, my daughter went to her middle school orientation.  They were there to learn about the curriculum and their elective options, and then walk around and explore.  Due to her brother's stomach bug, she went with a friend, whose mom graciously kept me updated.  Around 6:00 I received a text "and they're off to middle school."

My heart broke a little.  The air literally left the room and I had to sit down.  Poof, just like that, she was all grown up.

I was not prepared for such a visceral reaction.  She's my middle child, so I have been through this before.  But it never ceases to surprise me, that feeling of...well, your child growing up.

It's thrilling and wonderful and nervewracking and terrifying.  Her brother is chill, he's laid back and devil-may-care, go-with-the-flow.  She's different.  She's more innocent, more naive, more sensitive and trusting. And smaller.

Yesterday, while shopping at Target I needed to use the restroom.  "Meems, come with me and watch the cart while I go to the bathroom, please."


"Because, honey, I don't want to leave you alone in the store.  Please come with me."

"MOM!  Oh my gosh, I'm almost 12!  I'll be perfectly fine here looking at the clothes.  I'm not a baby."

And she was right.  But she looks like one.  And apparently I have a tendency to treat her like one.  And she'll always be a baby to me -- MY baby.

She has always had a tendency to want people to do things for her.  This, literally, is why it took her so long to walk -- she was tiny and adorable and easy to carry and preferred it that way.  When she finally walked on her own, she did so like she'd been doing it for years.  She never toddled.  She just got up and matter-of-factly walked across the room.

Lately, as she teeters on the edge of puberty and middle school, her tendencies to be babied have been amplified.  I know it's a security thing, but I see her going down a dangerous road of being a girl who needs someone.  As a sagittarius, nothing scares me more.  I want her to be a girl who is independent and capable and strong.  I want her to be someone who values and appreciates validation (and who doesn't really?) but who doesn't seek it.  I have been encouraging her to do her own thing, to have confidence in her abilities, and take some chances.  And she is.  Her reaction to my request was proof that my strategy is working.  This is a girl who, a couple months ago, would not have wanted to be left alone.

She is discovering her girl power.  Embracing it.

When I was a little older that she is now, I was helping my sister with her paper route.  She was sick, and so my mom and I were splitting the early morning job.  I was little too, and as I lugged a huge newspaper bag full of newspapers up a steep hill, I remember my mother coming to me to help.  When I told her I was fine, she commented "well, you may be little, but you're mighty."   Those words have stuck with me and have probably formed who I am more than any other advice I ever received, from my parents or anyone.

So I let her browse.  When I returned, she gently admonished me "you think I'm so little sometimes.  I'm not little, Mom.  I only look little."

And she's right.  And she's mighty.  And she doesn't even know it yet.  But she will.

I'll make sure of it.


Ahhh, middle school, such a tough time! It sounds like you are giving Meems the support and example to handle it though, and as your only girl, she will always be your baby...just a grown up version!

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