This is what 11 looks like.
11 is one of the sweet spots, my friends, and I am soaking it all up.
First, here I am with my girl in the early morning, this sweet-hearted dear saw my new t-shirt and had an idea of her own.
For the record, things played out a little differently when I asked the teenagers if they wanted to wear my new t-shirt designs. They looked at me with what can only be described as pity.
But not Little Miss 11.
11 still wants to be like her mom and is not afraid who knows it. Dress alike days are a whole thing and she wanted a shirt to proudly declare she was in this with me.
11 still lets me hug her in the hallways at school, she still lights up when I walk in her classroom and I am still welcome at her lunch table.
11 thrives on showing me all the ways she can be responsible and in charge. She loves to come along to the store and is actually helpful and a joy to have around.
11 doesn’t hide out in her room and that’s not all—she will clean it, let me in anytime and decorates it with posters of kittens and cupcakes she bought with her own money from the Scholastic book order.
11 tells me all about her day leaving out not a single detail. I still feel like I know all of her friends and everything about their lives, her delightful chatter is like music to my mom heart.
11 gets my jokes and has a sense of humor that delights the soul, her quick wit gives me a glimmer of the adult she will become, but ends in a fit of little girl giggles that remind me she is still my little girl.
11 will rest her head on my shoulder during TV shows, reading time and church, and might even still crawl into my lap if the mood is right.
11 still wants to be tucked in at night and yet can get completely ready for bed on her own. She falls asleep reading chapter books about horses and friendship and magic and when I gently take the book from her hands, I kiss her smooth forehead and she smiles in her sleep like she did as a baby.
11 is in the middle, no longer little and not yet big, but this middle spot may be one of the most special ones of all. She can swing with the grown-ups and play with the little kids. She is free to color and also to paint her own nails. She can be her very own person and yet no one expects her to know who that is yet.
11 tugs at my heartstrings as I realize how lucky I am to have watched this amazing child on her journey this far and at the same time I cannot wait to see who she becomes.
But for now, I’ll let her be 11 and savor every moment with my girl.
This article originally appeared on Hiding in the Closet with Coffee by Amy Betters-Midtvedt
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