The other day my 11-year old daughter came up to me, her hair still dripping from her shower and her arms filled with a hair dryer and a flat iron. She asked me if I could help her blow dry her hair.
I stared at her . . . caught off guard for a minute by the lovely girl who stood in front of me, nearly looking at me eye-to-eye. I inhaled sharply as I realized how much my daughter has grown and changed in the last couple of months. She is caught in this in-between stage . . . not quite a little girl anymore, but not quite a young lady yet, either. Each day that passes is a step further away from that little girl and a step closer to the teenager she is becoming. This transformation is beautiful to watch and I am thankful that as her mother I get a front-row seat.
“Sure,” I said, a little confused by her question. My girl usually pulls her beautiful, long locks back in a ponytail every day so this sudden interest in blow-drying her hair was something new. And it dawned on me that this was another sign that she is growing up.
My daughter’s hair is long and unruly. It is wild and free. It is curly and full of tangles and really difficult to manage some days. But it is also absolutely gorgeous and I have always loved doing her hair. I showed her how to blow dry it straight and use the flat iron—transforming her wild head of hair into a straight and smooth hair-do—which my daughter loved. She stared at her reflection in the mirror and ran her fingers through her straight hair. She turned around to face me and I hardly recognized her—she looked so grown up.
And instantly, I missed my girl with the ponytail. The one who still looked 11.
I sighed. I can feel the changes coming.
My daughter . . . she is beautiful in every way. But her true beauty shines from within and as we muddle through these tricky tween years, I hope she always remembers that kindness, love, happiness and helping others will make her beautiful—no matter what her hair looks like. The world will try to convince her otherwise through TV and social media . . . but I want her to know that she is wonderfully made and God looks at her heart and cares only about her inner beauty.
In the meantime, I’m holding onto to my girl for as long as she will let me. This in-between stage is fun and carefree filled with giggles and long talks. It’s filled with simple fun and big hugs. It is a good place to be, this in-between . . .
And I have to admit, the next morning when my daughter came bouncing down the stairs, I was relieved to see that ponytail swaying back and forth behind her.
1 Samuel 16:17