This week marked a very special occasion in our family. We had a birthday. Our G left the two hand birthdays and advanced to the third hand birthday by turning 11. I still remember how excited she was when she was five to move to the second hand. Anytime some one would ask her how old she was, she would proudly boast that toothless grin and hold up her one hand with all fingers spread apart boasting all five fingers and then that one thumb on the other hand. It seems just like yesterday I could see her doing that. Now she's 11. That just seems so surreal to me. One thing I hear often as a Mama is you think girl toddlers were hard, wait until they are all teenagers. Most of the time, this comment is followed by a smirky grin as if they are keeping some secret they don't want me to know while at the same time alluding to the fact that it is doom and gloom. Now obviously, I do not have teenagers now, but we have entered the stage known as the tween years and this is a new beginning for us and I am going to embrace it just as we did the toddler years. I am sure we will both have good days and bad days, but together we will get through this next chapter. Until then, I have come to admire and appreciate my growing girl. Changes are happening everyday and I am amazed at how well she is handling it all. With our recent move, I thought for sure she would have the most trouble with the adjustment. She hasn't at all! She has put herself out there auditioning for roles in school, student government, and sports teams. All the while making new friends and new connections. Her heart and love for others around her has grown, she's accepted this new place and has done her best to make it her new home. We often joke that sometimes it would be nice to be on Grace time. She appreciates all things around her and very little makes her feel rushed. She soaks up the present, not worrying about tomorrow. She takes the time to sing and dance and to read books she loves. Not worried at all what others think about her or the fact, that maybe those things may make you late for the next event. Her innocent way of thinking has led her to seeing the purity in people and things around her. Not concerned with worldly views, prejudices and thoughts of what others tell her she needs to be. She is herself and very confident. A growing girl that is a good judge of character, honest and smart. She has a love for Christ and her daily prayer consists of, "Help me be better tomorrow than I was today. Keep me close."She takes the time to kiss me every morning before leaving the car for school, no matter how behind we are running. She is a protective big sister and isn't afraid to show others her love for them. In her eyes, her daddy still ropes the moon and she compares every male around her to him. She is our sweet G and although she is not a teen yet, we are savoring this time with her in the tween years. We are cherishing the walks she wants to take after school, just to talk about stuff. We encourage her when she makes good choices and we have more talks about when not so good choices have been made. We are pruning her to be the woman God has designed her to be and will become. We have always been protective of her, but now we hold her even closer than before. We pray for her and over her. Never before have we been so nervous about weaning her to become her own, little by little. The process is a tough job for us all, but we know that she is worth it. A wise friend once told me that the days are long and the years are short. We see this more than ever now that she is eleven. In seven years, she will leave our nest. Until that moment, we are clinging to HIS teachings that we should use our time here on earth wisely. Psalms 90:12 teaches to be deliberate in your time, not just in our spiritual walk, but also the walk we have in parenthood. Hopefully, in time, when I see a Mama with three girls, instead of lulling her with the doom and gloom of teen years, I can encourage her to embrace these girls. Model to them the woman you want them to become, because truly we are on borrowed time with them.
Happy Birthday to our amazing and beautiful baby Grace. Welcome to becoming a tween. You are the daughter of the King!
Some pictures were taken from my friend Megan with A Beautiful Moment Photography and the last image was borrowed from Pinterest.