My oldest daughter, Ella will be 10 in a few days. 

10.

We went shopping over the weekend to find something to wear for date night. Mine, not hers. Thankfully, we’re not there. Yet.

“Mom, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to wear that? But I don’t think that’s right,” she told me as I shoved my body into a shirt that was likely made for an 18-year-old.

“Yeah, I think you’re right. But I’m going to get it anyway,” I told her.

We laughed and then she asked to try on a smaller version.

It looked good on her.

That’s where we are. That’s what being almost 10 means, when mother and daughter find the same interest in clothes.

She’s been around for a decade and I’m still wondering how it went by so quickly.

Age 10 is an in-between world of little girl and a wanna-be teen.

I knew it was coming. I’ve known for awhile. All parents do, of course. We can’t keep them little forever. We don’t want to.

But it still takes us by surprise. It still took me by surprise.

Age 10 is desperately wanting a phone, “Just for emergencies and to talk to Grandma and Grandpa,” and because all of her friends have one, too, even though she won’t admit that part.

Age 10 is clinging to a stuffed animal named Leo, the one she found at the zoo eight years ago. It’s her favorite and he still takes center stage on her bed. Mom hopes that stuffed leopard takes up room in her heart for several years to come.

Age 10 is baking chocolate chip cookies without help and cleaning up after herself with only one or two reminders.

It’s movies, the good ones that I like to watch.

It’s about friends and makeup and deodorant and so many questions of how it all works.

Age 10 is, “Mom, my leg hurts,” because you know she’s growing. Again.

It’s losing another tooth and wondering how long that fairy will come around.

It’s needing me less, and learning to do more on her own.

It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking for a mother to watch. I see her, sometimes, that baby girl I once knew so well. Her profile reminds me that she’s still there. And, yet, I also see a young woman in her smile and in her laugh. Gosh she’s gorgeous. There’s so much goodness just waiting for her.

But for now, she’s 10. She’s still my little girl. She always will be my baby. I pray she remembers to be kind. I pray she stays humble, but works hard to get all she deserves. I pray she fights for the weak and speaks up when others stay silent.

I pray she always remembers that God loves her.

She helped me get ready for that date with her handsome daddy on Saturday night.

“Ella,” I called to her from down the hall, “will you help me button the back of this shirt?”

She did, of course, without hesitation.

And in that moment I knew, she was dreaming of the day when she, too, would get to go on her own date, wishing she could be just a little bit older.

And I was wishing that time would just slow down.

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Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.

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