Watching my little girl change every day since the day she was born has been beautiful, exciting, and challenging. She has been changing in what seems a blink of the eye and continues to change right before my eyes, and all for the better. She is turning into a brighter and better version of her younger self. It is happening and has happened that quick.
It seems it was only yesterday that my daughter loved everything pink and princessey. Then she loved everything blue and Barbie. That transition seemed a natural progression and wasn't so rough, or at least I didn't think so at the time when, three years ago, we gave her permission to pick the paint color she wanted for her room - a bright turquoise blue. It went well with the Barbie theme that we bought in the form of curtains, wall border, and bedding.
The next thing you know, she started giving some of her toys away to other, littler girls who would appreciate them. She's always been generous like that, and it was okay with us - change is normal. The next to follow were the curtains - bye, bye pink flowers - and the wallpaper border and decals were decidedly too princessey and too Barbiey. Soon her room was sporting just the bright blue walls and white trims adorned with blue sparkly curtains. It all had seemed harmless at the time.
She, like so many other young girls, was into the Camp Rock craze, and that's when she first found out about the Jonas Brothers. We bought her a cool and pricey comforter set. No problem, it went with the blue. Then over the months, she began boxing her "little girl" toys and things up "to sell in the garage sale." Again, I said, "No problem, she's simply growing out of them." And it was a good way for her to declutter, organize, and make a little pocket change.
And also during that time, she had been into the High School Musical craze. I remember when she just had to have a cool embroidered hat, the one she had to wear all the time and could barely get off her head. The day I took her and one of her best friends to see the third movie, she gave that same hat away. And while I should have known what was coming with her waning interest, I didn't, and continued to think of her in the same way - my little girl.
Because somewhere floating in my mind and lurking like shadows were the memories of the girl who loved Blue's Clues, My Little Ponies, and the Disney Princesses; the girl who loved to wear pigtails, pink dresses, and high-heeled shoes.
Something was happening that I couldn't see, or perhaps didn't want to see. Right before my eyes and without me noting it, the little girl had begun growing up.
Then she started begging to check for the latest issue of Tiger Beat every time we went to the grocery store. Soon her once bare bedroom walls were becoming papered with posters of the adorable-moody pouts of the Jonas Brothers - Nick Jonas in particular. Now multiple sets of eyes are watching me whenever I enter her room.
As her fifth-grade year progressed, wound down, and ticked away, she became the owner of an iPod and several CDs that she plays loudly on her CD player/radio, she watches music videos online and follows Fred, and she has her own website with her friends.
This summer she's busy, busy with classes and camps. For the first time, she's going to overnight camp just like the big girls and will be doing something she loves - riding horses.
As for me and my feelings about my little girl growing up... I can't say I mind. I think I've accepted it because there is nothing else I can do. I will admit that her growing up has felt as though it has snuck up on me even though in reality it hasn't. I think I have known what has been coming all along...or at least I think I have.