Growing Little Girls


I’m feeling a bit sentimental and reflective about parenthood these days, especially when it comes to my daughter. It’s been a big summer for her, filled with changes and growth. Also, she’s a couple of months away from hitting double digits, which I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around. 10 years old is a milestone. She’s a tween. (I’m still trying to figure out what that means exactly) People remember being 10 years old, for goodness sakes.

My daughter is at camp this week. Last year was her first time going away to overnight camp. I wanted her to go, I knew it’d be a great experience, but getting her on the bus was hard on all of us. This year, getting on the bus was no big deal. The fact that it was no big deal, is feeling like a big deal to me. Sending her off to camp last year for a week without us was a HUGE milestone for both of us and now, just like that, it’s the new normal. No fear or anxiety, only excitement. Part of it is that we trust the camp and counselors, but a huge part of it is growing up and feeling more confidence.

When I think back to this time last summer, I can’t believe the leaps in growth that I’ve seen. Sometimes I miss the swooping changes because I’m too close to the picture, managing all the day-to-day stuff, but when I do finally step back from the painting, I’m stunned at the beautiful artwork that is forming (literally) right under my nose.

Of course, we have so much more change ahead. This growing up business is a continual process.

On a side note, I’ve been shocked by how quiet our house is when she’s gone. I know I shouldn’t really be shocked since she talks nonstop but it’s more than noise. It’s really surprising how such a little girl can add so much energy and “life” to our house and family.

Parenting girls and watching them grow up is such a special adventure – and it is definitely an adventure with lots of twists and turns, mountain climbing, and some shadowy valleys, but also many sweet surprises along the way.

This mixture of emotion makes me think of one of my favorite quotes about raising little girls. This quote is so sweet and encouraging.

“It’s a strange thing, but somehow we expect more of girls than of boys. It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful. What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things in their rough way! A woman’s task is to teach them gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness. It’s a big task, too, Caddie–harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers. It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things. They have them just as much as the men who build bridges and carve roads through the wilderness. A woman’s work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man’s.”

Caddie Woodlawn

Since writing is my therapy, I’m sure there will be more posts on this topic as we approach that double-digit birthday. In the meantime, I have to go pick up a little lady from her week at camp.

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