Today is my daughter's birthday. She's 11. She told me she'd rather skip and just get to 12 but we both agreed that wasn't possible and how about just deal with 11. It's pretty good, as I recall.
11's so sweet. It's really on the way to being a grown up but with full access to childhood. My daughter notices she can pass for an Older Kid but appreciates the understanding that she really is close to Little Kid.
I find myself feeling a bit sad today. I didn't expect to. Maybe it's other things, maybe it's other circumstances, and maybe it's that my little girl isn't really one anymore. I went to school to drop off the cupcakes and she said hi and bye real fast. I went all the way to the school, like totally out of my way, and I got a "hibye." It's not new and it's not surprising or anything.
Being a mom has taken more from me than anything else I've ever done. And I love being used up. I love being challenged and having to get creative and be strengthened and taken to my edge, taken past my edge, and having to use my values and insights and having to dig down really deep to answer those challenges. I also feel free to make loads of mistakes knowing I'm a good-enough mom.
I also love the ease with which being her mom comes to me. It's natural to face those things and it's fun to see how it turns out. It's not going as planned in many ways. It's going better than planned in some. It's a relationship I don't question or evaluate. It's a part of me, it's not a stay or go or change or fix or wonder about. It's an expression of who I am in a way that's not separate. There's no question about it. That's not to say there aren't times when I don't have to modify behaviours we're doing or come up with strategies for how we're going to get through particular spots in our lives. But there's never a question that we won't get there, or that it won't work out.
I enjoy the little kid and big girl my daughter has become. She threatens to get taller than me and has declared that this is the year she's going to do it. Imagine - my kid getting to be bigger than me. I still think the whole thing is weird. And normal. All at the same time.
(Here's a picture of the cake that was made for her. The Photobooth makes it mirrored though and I don't know how to flip it, so there you go.)