Party dress no more, double digits are here

YOU forget sometimes that your children are growing and maturing before your eyes.

But then there are reminders – and during the past week, there have been several in my household.

The first was my eldest daughter’s 10th birthday party.

Gone was the party dress with matching hair ties – instead it was leggings, layered tops, boots and a bobby pin to twist the side of her hair back.

The lolly bags made way for thank you gifts from diva, party food was a quick stop for pizza and the evening was spent skating and watching movies in pyjamas.

No more pass the parcel. No more bobs and statues. No more of mum’s silly jokes and singing party songs (now, it’s a roll of the eyes quickly followed by “you’re so embarrassing”).

Double digits have arrived. And yes, my little girl is growing up.

Part of me wanted to dress her in a pretty frock and put plaits in her hair, but the other was celebrating how far she had come in 10 short years and all that we have to look forward to, together.

Standing before me minutes before the house was inundated with more of the same, was a beautiful young girl.

No longer a little girl, not quite a teenager – but a happy, healthy, glowing girl whose smile for the entire weekend warmed my heart and those around her.

But it was the quiet time on the couch at the end of the weekend when I realised my little girl was also maturing.

As we snuggled under a Doona on the couch watching The Game Plan – the story of a football player living the bachelor lifestyle when he discovers he has an eight-year-old daughter from a previous relationship – she rolled over with tears in her eyes and asked me a question.

“Mum, who will be my legal guardian if you die?”

The question took me by surprise. For the next little while, she put her head on my lap and we talked about the people in her life who loved her and played a significant role in helping to raise her.

Then, she reeled off a list in order of whom she wanted to live with.

It was practical and matter-of-fact. She loves all of her aunties and uncles the same, but had assessed each of their families as to whether their lifestyle was suitable to accommodate two more children.

It never occurred to me that she had thought about this many times before.

And deeply.

The beautiful part about your children growing up is that you start to have lovely conversation. Sometimes it’s confronting and uncomfortable, but it’s lovely to talk on a different level to what you are used to in their early years.

When your children start to consider their answers and form their own opinions, parenting takes a different course.

It’s unfamiliar territory with a first-born, and a bit scary knowing the teenage years are coming – but it’s a new chapter in mothering that is just as beautiful as the last, perhaps even more so.

Mind you, when their arms go around your neck and they tell you they love you before rolling over to continue watching the movie, it’s at the moment you remind yourself that while they are growing, your daughters will always be your little girls.

And your love for them will be a constant – regardless of their age.

They just don’t want to hear it at the school gate, anymore!

(Mind you, I’ll keep telling them...)

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