“Mom, can I have a phone?”
“Mom, why won’t you let me shave my legs?”
“Mom, when can I wear a bra?”
“Mom, I’m not a baby; I can stay home alone.”
We have officially reached the tween years.
I can’t believe that I’d longed for, even prayed for, these days to come. Can we go back to rocking in the middle of the night? Or maybe just the days of toddler-sized meltdowns that were easily fixed with some warm milk?
No, I didn’t know what I was wishing for when I blinked my eyes away, dreaming of the days my daughter would be able to go the bathroom alone, fix her own breakfast, and help with chores.
But it’s here—my baby girl is transitioning to a young lady, and instead of throwing a party, I’m desperate to hold on to the last few non-teen birthdays.
I know you think I don’t “get it,” I am just trying to keep you from having fun, keeping you from your friends, and holding you back from adulthood.
But, sweet girl, I am trying to protect you from things that you may be physically ready for but emotionally unequipped.
Yes, I know, all your friends have phones, more freedom to surf the web, and unrestricted television controls. No, you won’t be stuck watching animated movies or anything under PG for the rest of your life; at some point, your search bar will have open access, and a phone will no doubt be glued to your hand. But, right now, those things can bring more harm than good to you.
I am not trying to keep you back or in the dark, but because I love you so much, I want to protect you from language and situations that are too complex for you to understand, people who can easily prey on young girls, and guide you as navigate friendships in person.
I know you aren’t a baby, and I understand that at some point in time, you will need to shave your legs, sport a bra, and wear make-up, and when it’s appropriate, I will move aside as you enter womanhood.
But today, can you trust me that it’s better, less complicated, and more enjoyable being a little girl?
I can’t wait to watch you walk across the stage, land your first job, and move into your own apartment, but can we just press pause and enjoy the next few years without worrying about growing up?
My greatest joy in motherhood is watching you grow and bloom. I love seeing you make new friends, conquer goals, list your dreams, and flourish as each year passes. And, as you grow older, so will your responsibility, freedom, and choices. I will always be here, your friend, confidant, and cheerleader, mothering from afar as you navigate adulthood. But, for now, I am going to stick close by.
So if you need to, roll your eyes, let out a breath, and cross your arms as I continue to monitor your streaming, decline requests for personal devices, and try my best to ensure that you don’t make any decisions that could have lasting consequences. Because, daughter, I love you too much; I need to be your mom first and friend second. One day, you’ll get it, but by that time, you’ll have your own children.