She’s growing into herself, unsettled in her own awkwardness, uncomfortable in her own skin. She’s traversing the middle school journey — the one fraught with mean girls, new experiences, beloved teachers, giggly girlfriends, and enough heartbreak to last a lifetime.
We’ve plunked her down in the middle of nowhere, far away from everyone she’s ever known and loved.
She’s discovering facial blemishes, skinny jeans on a chunky pre-teen body, teeth in need of a second round of orthodontia. The freckles that adorn her pug nose keep her rooted firmly in Little Girldom, but the rest of her body is fighting to Grow Up.
Her cerulean eyes shine brightly when she smiles. They can light up the world, those Baby Blues.
She’s sweet, loving, kind, generous. She’s always first on the scene with Band-Aids. My little Florence Nightingale. And when she’s pissed, watch out. Her head spins 180 degrees and all hell breaks loose. Doors are slammed, angry words are screamed.
She alternately loves and loathes her brothers. THREE brothers. Count them. She does. Three. God didn’t see fit to give her a sister. Someday you’ll appreciate them, I tell her. Someday.
Not today, she replies.
I miss my friends. I miss Jocey. I miss Amber. I miss Nana. I miss Alyson. I miss Indiana. I miss our old house. Her sadness and longing break me in two.
I love my new house. I have wonderful new friends. Can I have a sleepover this weekend? I want to cut my hair. I want to let my hair grow. Can I dye my hair magenta? I was picked for the Writing Club. Her happiness and enthusiasm inspire me.
We do “Girl Stuff” together. We watch chick-flicks, we paint our nails, we try on shoes, we make peanut butter Rice Krispie treats, we visit the hair salon, we window-shop for jewelry.
She’s a gift, this one. I am so grateful for her. At times, I am overwhelmed with the responsibility she is. Handle with care. Fragile. Other times, I see her resilience and know that she’s unbreakable. She’s strong. She’s smart. She’s sassy and sweet and altogether unstoppable.
She’s my one and only. My girl.
My beautiful, special girl.