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I’ve never really been able to find a clear line between childhood and teenage years.
It’s more of a blurry smear of Mommy’s baby meets snoddy attitude.
If I stop for just a minute and take it all in as it’s happening, I can recognize the subtle changes that are taking place before me.
She plays on Facebook more than Webkinz
She wears light pink lip gloss instead of bubble gum flavored chapstick - the kind that she’s always called lip-blam, not balm.
She’s traded in all her character t-shirts for a softer adult styled shirt, because it’s what everyone else is wearing.
She begins to question my orders where she used to be eager to please.
She tests the boundaries a little more – can she walk to the park with a friend?
Her relationship on Facebook goes from Single to In a Relationship to Single to In a Relationship.
These changes are slow, meshed with a whole lot of moments where I recognize the sweet baby I’ve loved for her whole big life, and seemingly, for my own whole big life.
Some days she calls me “mommy” and other days she firmly refers to me as “mother”.
She still lets me pack her lunch, sort of.
As a mom, I’m comfortable with the swirl of growing up and staying young. I like the subtlety, I hold on to them for as long as I can and those moments of mommy’s girl mixed in with the teenage effects give me that false reassurance that we still have so much time together.
I thought Gabby would be just like Grace – slow, subtle.
Can you see where this is going?
There was nothing subtle about my baby growing up this past week.
We were heading to school on Monday – chatting along as we always do, she’s singing random songs in between conversations and looking at her phone to respond to text messages, sometimes fully engaged in our talk, other times just mumbling and nodding while gossiping with her friends in a text. It’s mostly normal. Mostly.
We pull up to her school and we go through the normal routine:
“Did you turn your phone off”
“Know where your lunch money is?”
“front pocket, like always mom” she says as she rolls her eyes, she doesn’t think I see her.
“be sweet ok”
And then it happens.
We just look at each other.
Where there would normally be a short hug followed by her bouncing out of the car, calling back a quick “I love you” before she entered the school, there was now nothing.
Just an awkward glance at each other, a few seconds of empty silence followed by a quick “bye“.
You JUST. HUGGED ME. FRIDAY!! and I’m pretty sure I showered this morning.
When did the hugging good-bye in the mornings stop? Sometime Saturday? Did you just decide this like just now? Could you have sent me a quick text, a memo so my heart would have had a chance to prepare?
Her sister went through this too – except when the kisses stopped, I still got a half hearted awkward sideways head bump – as though we were hugging but didn’t want anyone to know. Eventually it stopped all together and we’re at a point now where I’m lucky if I get a good eye roll before she slams the door in my face when we pull up to the high school, but it was gradual, swirled, not hard and fast, black and white.
But this? This “I don’t want to hug you anymore or have anything to do with you effective immediately?”
It’s too black and white, and It breaks my heart.