If your little girl is now almost a teenager, these beautiful words are for you
My little girl is 11.
11! Double digits! I still can't quite believe it. Still quite can't believe how fast it all went by. How hours and days and weeks turned into months and years – and here we are, my baby is no longer a baby, barely even a child – and instead, and I know my heart isn't quite ready, on the cusp on her tween and teen years.
Still I have time, I tell myself. Still she wants to hold my hand when we walk around outside and still she'll come crawling into my bed every morning (and sometimes in the middle of the night too). Still she wanted to bake with me and colour with me and watch movies with me, and I soak it up, knowing that someday soon, I will no longer be her whole world.
Soon enough, there will be peers and pals and parties and the big world will open up and start pulling her away – bit by bit. Not forever, of course, and not too far (I hope), but still, she has her own life to grow into, and her own path to find, and much as I am already grieving the loss of what I have with her right now, I also hope, pray, that we will remain best friends. That she will remain my little girl – even when she is all grown up.
I recently came across this beautiful Facebook post by Whitney Fleming, who is the mum behind the blog Playdates on Fridays. And I know I still have a few years to go before my little girl is full-blown teenager, but still, it hit me in the heart.
Because this is what it is like, isn't it? We know it – because we have been teen girls ourselves. What I am holding onto though, is that if my girl is anything like me, she will come back to me. Like I did with my own mum. And our love won't change because of her pulling away, finding her own story. It will still be there. I will be there, waiting. And is this isn't what motherhood is all about, I don't really know what is.
Right now she doesn't care about the nights I lie awake worrying about her future.
She doesn't care about the tears I shed after our last fight.
She doesn't care that we agonized over decisions and stressed about choices and struggled sometimes with what to do next.
Right now she doesn't remember when I was her whole world, when she begged me to lay down with her, when my hugs could make everything better.
She doesn't remember following me everywhere and grabbing on to my leg whenever she needed to steady herself.
She doesn't remember falling asleep in my arms.
Right now she's busy trying to find herself, find her voice, find her place in this world.
She's busy with her peers, with school, with all the things on her phone.
She's busy trying to break free from the ties that bind us, she's trying to emerge into her own light.
And while she's busy doing all the things, I sit and patiently wait for her to come back to me.
Because there's something that daughters don't know until much later in life.
More often than not, daughters come back to their mothers, even after breaking away.
They remember those nights they cried in our arms. They care about the memories of baking cookies and playing in sprinklers and eating ice cream on warm summer nights. They find time to call their mothers and go shopping and sit to have tea.
I know this, because I was a teen daughter once too.
And despite the way I treated my mom in my teens, despite my pushing her away and fighting her affections and believing she was holding me back, she patiently waited for me to come back to her—just as I will be waiting for my daughters, too.
As you try to cut the last remaining strings of our bond, I know I must let you go, so I desperately cling to the hope that one day, not too far off into the future, you will return to me.
You will come back to me where I will be waiting with open arms.
Because that’s what mothers do for their daughters who spend their teen years breaking free.