My daughter turns 10 tomorrow. Double digits is apparently a big deal.
She has told me so 523 times.
While she is counting the seconds until she joins the ranks of the double digit crowd, I am finally finding Lamaze breathing to be helpful.
Which takes me back to the day Lamaze breathing felt akin to giving a whale a tic-tac.
"You have a daughter."
What sweet and terrifying words. I have a daughter. I.have.a.daughter.
Holy mother of all things sacred, I have a daughter.
Everyone tells you that it goes by so quickly. Everyone tells you to enjoy every moment of their childhood. I know this to be true but sometimes, when well meaning folks uttered those words, I wanted to gouge their eyes out.
Now, here I am, wondering where the time has gone. How can my newborn girl be leaving single digits behind?
Long days, fast years.
I watch her making her way in the world and I feel a mix of pride, adoration and fear.
I know what is coming.
I remember middle school.
I remember getting my first visit from Aunt Flo.
I remember getting my heart broken.
These things are coming.
I know that she will be stronger for it. I know that these are life lessons that we all have to endure.
But, still...I want to put her in a bubble.
We do all that we can to protect our children. Seat belts, helmets, vegetables and band-aids. These things are within our control.
We have no control over the words that will be spoken to our children. We have no control over boys that won't return their undying love. We have no control over teenagers speeding down our street. (Although, I will shout and throw soccer balls at their cars.)
In third grade, my girl told me that she didn't want to wear bows in her hair anymore. Someone told her that she looked like a baby and that she would look much better without the stupid bows. I battled the urge to ask, "Sweetie, tell Mommy who said that. What is their address?" Instead, I repeated our mantra, "Be your own person!" and "It is one thing if you don't want to wear bows anymore, but do not change because of someone else's words."
She never wore a bow, again.
I love to watch my girl play sports. We hustle around, searching for lost socks, rush to the field and once the game starts, I sit down and watch my kiddo for an hour. Just watching, uninterrupted by laundry to fold, dishes to wash, emails to answer. I watch her yuk it up with her buddies that will hopefully be her loyal cohorts through the upcoming years. I watch her look of determination in the batter's box and pray she uses that determination to be true to herself. My heart swells when she gives me a thumbs up and I hope that she knows that I am always in her corner, watching and cheering.
Tonight, we will get out her baby album and we will laugh and coo at her pictures. She will ask to hear the same stories that I have told her over and over. She will ask about the day she was born. She will ask about her first words and her first steps. She will ask why there is a picture of her 2 year old self with maxi pads stuck to her forehead.
Tonight, we will say "goodbye, 9."
I will hide my fears from her and tell her how excited I am for her. Because I am excited. I am excited to watch her navigate dramas and excited to see who her first crush is on. (Cue Vodka) I am excited to cheer at her games. I am excited to watch her pave the way for her little sister.
But, right now, while she is at school, I will look through her baby album and frighten the dog with my boo-hoo'ing.