We rush everything. We aimlessly try to beat the clock and complain that there are not enough hours in the day. We are intelligent beings however, and we know, without a doubt, there are only 24 hours in a day. Insanely, we wake up each day forgetting that we know with concrete absolution, 24 hours will come and go no matter our efforts. This is the very definition of insanity: waking up, repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I was saddened this past week when images of “daddy-daughter” dances and sweetheart balls flooded Facebook. Pictures of smiling daughters hid the true insanity lurking in our shadows. My heart sunk each time I saw a picture of a little girl, not even out of elementary, dressed in formal wear fitting for a senior in high school. I saw images of these small girls in dresses too tight they couldn’t even dance. Makeup piled on so much that the young child inside was lost and became a miniature adult. Hair was so intricately curled and pinned that their little heads no longer looked like that of an 8-year-old but of a woman dressed for a black tie affair.

And underneath these posts of pictures of little girls not looking so little were words of their mothers and family members, “They grow up so fast,” or “where has the time gone?” Where in fact, the time is right here, right now.

“Let them be little!” I wanted to say. Let them be little girls.

There will be a time for formal wear, red lipstick and fancy up do’s, but not now. “If you want time to slow down, look at your daughter,” I thought. Give her a chance to experience being a child. Don’t rush her childhood with putting unrealistic expectations in her head. What will she have to look forward to when prom comes if she has already experienced it in 3rd grade? What will she expect? Even more? I know most moms and family members innocently dolled up their little girl wanting only the best for them. They were not trying to hurt their child; just wanting a fairy tale experience. And it is not their fault. We live in a time when women are expected to look like they walked out of a magazine and our little girls are picking up on that pressure.

But I found a brightness among the insanity: A light pink dress with a bow and a bit of flounce so that she could twirl. Hair down and pulled back by a clip, at her request, so that her hair flowed as she spun. And ballet flats that no doubt came off after the 2nd song so she could dance with her uncle. This is the image that will always capture my heart. The picture of my niece; dressed like a 3rd grader, a little girl. Pure innocence and sweetness; and a whole lot of sass! 

My heart feels a bit lighter when I think of how my husband told me my niece indulged in one too many cups of punch and all she wanted to do was twirl. She danced with her friends; she danced with her uncle and did not worry about a dress too snug to move. She did not care that her hair was not professionally styled or that her sweet face was naturally blushed from spinning to her favorite songs. She was just a little girl…free of the pressure.

They won’t expect more if we don’t push them to be more. Please, let them be little.

Amanda Kosmer

I am a wife and mother of 2 full-speed-ahead boys. A former 5th grade Reading teacher and a lifelong learner, I have returned to my roots. Writing is my passion and therapy. It is in my bones and I love every moment of it!