We're painting my daughter J.'s bedroom this week. She has had the same yellow walls and hand-painted teapot border since she was two, and now she's nearly eleven. It's time to say goodbye to the teapots and hello to a big-girl room.
Now don't get me wrong. I LOVED the teapots. I was so happy with that room when we finished it. And it's been a great room for her. But the time for teapots is over, and we're now making the transition to a room that will be great for her as a pre-teen and into her teenage years.
When I told my friend C. that we were re-doing J.'s room today, she made sad noises and asked me if I was so sad about leaving those little girl years behind. And truthfully, it was the first time that it occurred to me to be sad. This is a significant time for J.--as significant as when we bought her first bra or as when I started to talk to her about how her body would change in the coming years. This is a beginning of her being older. So why do I approach it head-on, as though the beginning is not also an end to the little blonde with curls and big blue eyes and rosy cheeks? Am I that cold-hearted?
J. was an angelic-looking toddler and a devilish little girl, sweet and tender-hearted and busy and mischievous. She has been so fun to watch as she grows. And there are times, when I look at pictures or video of those years, that I miss that little girl. But also, I look so forward to seeing her as a teenager. She'll be a handful, I know that. But I also know that she'll be the kind of girl that comes in from a date and climbs into bed with me to tell me all about it. She'll leave the house on school mornings dressed in crazy clothes because it's Spirit Week. She'll spend hours in the bathroom doing her hair and trying out deep pore-cleansing masks. She'll lock herself in her room and spend hours on the phone. And it will be, in addition to a complete pain-in-the-butt, heaps of fun.
I'm not rushing it. I'm enjoying every day of her being 10, and will enjoy every minute of her being 11. And 13. And 16. But I also enjoyed each day of her being 2, and 6, and 8. So I'm not sad about saying goodbye to that little-girl room, or those little-girl years. I'm holding onto today, and looking forward to tomorrow.
It may be a bumpy ride, but one of which I'll love every minute.