I took my daughter shopping last night for an Easter dress. Drawing in a deep breath, I knew this trip would be different because we went to the junior’s section first – not the girls, though she can wear both. She picked out a dress, but I suggested we also look in girls. As we meandered among the girl racks, glancing at dresses in princess style and Easter-egg color, she said, “I’m looking for something more teenage-ish, not little girl-ish.” I thought my heart would burst. Until now, she has always measured an Easter dress by how poofy the skirt is and if it’s “twirly” enough. I walked behind her, slowly running my hand on the dresses she used to want to wear. At some point, her childhood turned a page and I didn’t notice. Why? Because she is still so whimsical, silly and creative; she loves climbing trees, dressing up the dog and finding frogs. Tired from a long day, I sat on the sofa outside the dressing room and tried to remember when was the last time I had to be with her in the dressing room to help her. I can’t remember.
She tried on the junior’s dress, the one that I questioned on the hanger, and to my surprise, it is adorable on her. She looks so cute! As I waited while she gathered her things, I fully realized that this dress suits who she is right now perfectly, and she is beautiful in it. She makes the dress. And she loves it. My little girl isn’t so little anymore. Her Easter dress (modest, I might add) was found in a department playing creepy music videos and donning skimpy clothes. No Hello Kitty or footie pajamas as far as the eye can see.
However, more than I want to stay in the girls department, I want to stay by my baby girl’s side through every phase of life. I don’t want to miss who she is now, and is becoming, because I can’t let go of who she was yesterday. I know what it feels like to cross over from girl to young woman alone…without a mom to show me the way. It’s hard. Really hard.
For my daughter, I will ask for strength from God to help me let her grow, and I will be grateful I am here to guide her, because although growing pains can really hurt my heart, it would be more painful to miss out on what an incredible, amazing young woman she is becoming. Every day, I am thankful to be a part of her life, and even more thankful that she wants me to be a part of it. Just like the dress, adolescence isn’t one size fits all. May my daughter continue to wear it well. Dear Lord, let me never forget to tell her how beautiful she is in simply being who she is today – while enjoying the mystery of who she will become tomorrow. Oh, and God, please give me a granddaughter one day so I can once again shop in the girls department for princess dresses with poofy, twirly skirts.