She stands nervously fidgeting, unsure of what to expect.
Her head, a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings and newness and novelty.
So much has changed, and yet there is so much change to come.
She steps away from me, edging out into the world a little at a time, always looking back to make sure I am still there.
Some days it is all too much, managing these ever changing friendships and navigating a world where boys like her and she likes them.
Some days she wants it all to just stop, she wants to curl up beside me. Some days she wants to stay little and she wants to just be.
Some days she urges it all forward, eager for whatever comes next.
Starting to become more aware of her place in this world, she is. Her passions, her loves, she clings to them.
Relics of childhood gathered and clutched.
Bits of independence folded seamlessly into the mix.
I see her across the room, often wondering where the time went. In my head and heart she is still that little girl hiding behind my leg, refusing to make eye contact with the rest of the world, with the infectious giggle and curly blond pigtails.
I watch her reconnect with the friends she hasn't spent enough time with lately. Diverging interests already splitting them from who they've always known. And yet, the comfort is there, the smiles ease onto their faces as though all this time hasn't past and nothing has changed. Familiar, they are. Comfortable. Pieces of who she was and who she is now.
They are all part of the story of her.
And then I catch a glimpse of who she is today, who she is becoming, who she wants to be. I try not to intrude, I try to give her space, I try to trust her to make good choices. I linger, but far enough away.
I linger, because every so often, she still scans the room for me.
She has always been my cautious one, always testing the waters and then testing them again.
My girl, my beautiful girl, teetering on the edge, stuck between childhood and whatever comes after, being pulled in every direction.
She does it with grace, she does it with kindness, almost all the time.
There are moments of conflict, of course there must be. I know there will be more.
I just hope that she knows that whenever her eyes are looking for me, I'll be there, just far enough away, waiting and watching as she maneuvers her way through the chaos of adolescence.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl.
I love you.
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