This Christmas, Kaela turned 9 years old. 9 is such a pivotal age....not yet a teenager, yet not really a little girl either. I think we are officially parents of a "tween" now. So I got her a book about girls growing up and body changes called "The Care and Keeping of You" from the American Girl line. I told Kaela this was a special book "for girls only" and for Mommy and Kaela to read together.
She couldn't wait to get started!
Mommy has been dreading this moment since the day she was born.
Not because of fear or avoidance of the topic, but because this means I am forced to accept the fact that my Christmas baby girl is no longer a baby. Refer back to "I Never Gave My Permission For That" post last summer....
The intro page starts with "When you were little your parents took care of you. Now that you're older, you're taking over a lot of that responsibility." Mommy moments began creeping in....but she IS still little, at least I want her to be. But she's not older yet....oh, but she is. Taking over responsibility....but she's just a baby.
I'm totally losing it as I write this blog entry! (So glad Bryan isn't home right now as I'm blubbering at the computer!)
So, that very Christmas night, we started the book. I offered to let her browse the table of contents and we could start with whatever topic she wanted....bracing myself for what might be on her mind. (Of course, I'd already read it in preparation for what conversations might arise.) But, true to Kaela form, she wanted to start with page one, of course. Fortunately, the book is designed from head to toe, so we started with hair, face, mouth, and skin. The next few nights we worked our way through underarms, breasts, and bras. (Mommy began taking deep breaths at these chapters!) We moved to body shapes, food, and nutrition. Each night we talk about if any girls she knows have gone through any of these changes. Then we talk about what she thinks about all this. "I didn't know all this was going to happen!" she says.
Tonight, we read the chapter called "Big Changes"....yep, moving below the waist now. I felt her breathing on my shoulder get a little faster as we talked about menstrual periods and the many, many changes that will happen then.
Really, Lord? Does my baby have to grow up? Can't she stay sweet and cuddly and innocent forever? And in the still small voice I heard....yes. Yes, she has to grow up, Yes, she can stay sweet. Yes, she can still cuddle. Yes, in My grace she can stay innocent. And yes, I created her for just this moment, and all the moments yet to come.
As we finished our chapter, there was still a few minutes before bedtime. I suggested Kaela read in bed for a few minutes. But she asked if she could stay with me "right here and keep talking". So we kept cuddling on the couch and talked about changes, and how God creates us to be girls, and the importance of "girl talk".
Please Lord, let her come to me with her questions. Let her seek out wisdom and knowledge from You who gives it. Protect her from those who are vindictive toward girls who change at different rates and shapes and times.
Show me how to hold her close...and let her go.
(yep, totally lost it now....)