My firstborn turned 12 this month.
To some of you just starting out in motherhood, that number is scary. That number is so far from where you are, that it seems like you’ll never get there.
I’m here to tell you, I was you. And now I’m here. And 12 is beautiful. Crazy. Fun. And sometimes still scary.
When I had my first baby, I could not wrap my head around the idea that she existed, let alone that one day she would be turning into a young woman at the age of twelve. I could not have predicted how our relationship would grow and morph into this beautiful yet often frustrating place. That sometimes she would want to hug me and other times, she would have so many feelings and not enough words to work through them with me and she would just hide inside her shell for a time.
As I held my daughter in that hospital room and listened to her breathing, I never could have known how my role would go from disciplinarian- endless time outs- to The Great Listener.
I am learning to make space for all the words she needs to say. And deciding when my thoughts are valid, and when they will just jumble hers and I should keep them to myself.
When I brought her home from the hospital, my love for her was so vast; foreign, but endless. The idea of it growing was unfathomable. I already loved her forever. But my love now is deeper and more familiar. It is a love rooted in time and trust.
Our first few nights together were terrifying. I remember waking several times each night just to feel her breathing. I still have sleepless nights. Fretting if she is suffocating from the weight of growing up. Worried that I’m not being clear enough about my love for her.
Our initial visit to the pediatrician revealed she had a heart murmur. The doctor reassured us it would likely resolve itself, but said they would keep an eye on it. And so we waited.
My twelve year old is a beautiful, cautious, strong, intelligent girl.
While the responsibility is great, the payout is greater.
One day you will look at your present and your past and be amazed at the differences and similarities. And you will likely still find it scary.
But you will have confidence that is greater than your fear.