She is, at times, 10 1/2 going on 16, but always my baby. There are times I see so clearly the little girl that she was and others when I get glimpses of the young lady she's becoming. Yes, she rolls her eyes from time to time. Sure she's starting to find me annoying in certain situations. I get that breathy Mom more than I used to, but we genuinely enjoy our time together and cherish the relationship we've forged.
She is a typical tween taking selfies (like the one above that inspired this post) and snap chatting with her friends, and yet there is nothing common about her. She possesses the kindest heart and a grateful spirit. She hurts when other people hurt, and is a constant champion of the underdog. My old soul is a true empath. It's more important to her to be true to herself and a good friend than most popular. She's already figured out who she is at her very core. Her moral compass is steady and her character strong. I marvel at that because I know adults with less depth and far weaker conviction.
She is not only wise beyond her years, but she's also witty. And opinionated. Her commentary on anything from life to the Wednesday night line-up frequently makes me pause or simply shake my head. More and more often she gets things I don't expect her to. She gets them with fresh eyes and young heart...with unjaded innocence and optimistic hope, and my mother's candor.
She is coming into her own in so many ways. She's driving the bus, making decisions and choosing paths and I have to respect that. Sometimes it's hard because I think I know better, but she knows what she wants and what she can handle. Gone are the days where I oversee every aspect of her life. It's no longer my job to make every choice and decision. It's time to let her slowly take the reins, to encourage her if she struggles, and applaud her when she succeeds. I've already given her the roots. She's earned her wings.
There are times I get down on my parental weaknesses. I stress over the many things I could be doing better as a mom. I'm not perfect, nor are my kids, but they are happy, healthy, well-adjusted individuals who make me immensely proud as a mother and encouraged as a human being every day. And that is how I know I'm doing something right.