How is it even conceivable that my little redheaded baby- is 12 years old today? How it that her single digit days are over and why am I feeling so melancholy about the whole affair?
I mean, really I’m not- I donâ€™t think I’d trade her two-year-old self for the confident, funny, opinionated, strong, sassy and yes even at times silly girl who makes every part of my daily experience richer by her mere presence. But still when I see a little girl, wearing a pink tutu, pink Mary Janes, a pink Hello Kitty shirt and big pink bows in her hair I do get a little bit wistful for the days when my daughter was just so enamored with me to the point where she’d let me dress her in pink from head to toe and literally hung on my every last word.
Our relationship is evolving and I am constantly aware, or at least trying to be, of allowing her the independence to explore what she’s passionate about, to flex her decision -making skills and to just be. But it is hard feeling and seeing her slip away from me-Â not needing or wanting me to be as entrenched in her life as I used to be- but of course– I need to remember it’s not all about me
I want to give her everything that myÂ mother felt she couldnâ€™t give me; the belief that anything is possible, that marrying a man is not the route toÂ success in life- and that any perceived physical flaw she might believe she has is merely a unique facet of her physical makeupÂ that makes her the beautiful individual she is. (I know indoctrinating these thoughts into her head will become increasingly more difficult a she enters the body dysmorphic period otherwise known as the teen years, but I am determined to stay the course!)
I am constantly reminded about the fragility of life and that every day with my daughter is a gift (even the ones where she is telling me that I am turning our house into a hoarders den or lamenting the fact that we won’t get her an iPhone) and I amÂ well- aware that the mother daughter relationship will likely be the most important and influential one of her life. I want to be her touchstone that well of strength for her, her soft place to fall as she continues to experience the highs and lows that will inevitably befall her. But for now I’m content to get in bed with her and cuddle my newly minted 12 year-old and hold her as tight as possible.
And so here are my 12 wishes for her on this very special day:
#1 That you will Never lose your sparkle.
#2 That you will neverÂ let anyone else’s opinions dictate to you what you should be-or diminish your pride.
#3 That you will Always listen to your inner voice.
#4 That you will Take pride in your family history- and revere it’s legacy.
#5 That you will always surround yourself with animals and that shih tzus will be a forever part of your life.
#6 That you will remember beauty comes from within and your physical body is just a shell.
#7 That you will always indulge in belly laughs and surround yourself with people who make you smile.
#8 That you never let anyone tell you to stop believing in your dreams and the possibility of a happily ever after.
#9 That you never let any relationship define you and know that whether you are with someone or not you are perfect and you are whole.
#10 That you remember your brother is and will always be your biggest ally.
#11 That you let yourself off the hook when things don’t think work outÂ and honey-things don’t always work out.
#12 That you know that your mom and dad are always here for you, no matter what, no matter when, no matter where.
Happy 12th birthday baby girl!!