It all began on a mundane weeknight.
She had just played in her first ballgame of the season. Supper was over and she had settled in at the dining room table for a game of chess with her daddy. I was in another room entertaining a puppy and a boy when I heard the drama coming from the other room.
I was used to drama during their chess games.
He's teaching her how to play and she is highly competitive, and those two don't always go well together. She loves the complexity of the game, he loves to see how amazing her mind works.
But the process is not pretty to listen to.
So I tune them out.
But this was different. She was physically hurting and was now asking for an ice pack or medicine. Then I was beckoned to come and see what was wrong. The worry in my husband's tone was enough to draw me away from the puppy and the boy for a bit.
When I walked into the room, my daughter was holding an ice pack up to her chest, just over her heart. My husband thought something was really wrong with her because of how she was carrying on. She can be a bit of a drama queen, but we could both tell she was in pain.
I had a pretty good idea what was going on. I gave her a quick hug and told her that while her brother was getting his bath, she and I would have a chat.
I followed her into her room and glanced around. Her room is a hodgepodge of little girl and young lady. The stacks of chapter books and random pre-teen clothes lie in deep contrast next to the toys and stuffed animals that clutter her space. She is still very much a little girl, but that is all beginning to change.
My daughter has always been off the charts in size. She is a tall girl. She is eight-years-old and is almost as tall as I am. I recently purchased a pair of shoes for her in my size.
Like it or not, my "little girl" isn't very little anymore.
When I found out that I was going to be her mother nearly nine years ago, I began to mentally prepare for the relationship that I wanted to have with my daughter. I knew that I didn't want to be my daughter's "friend." I wanted to be her mother.
I knew that friends would come and go in her life, but I always wanted her to know that her father and I would be there for her. No matter what she did. No matter what she was going through.
I also knew that one day we would end up having "THE TALK" about sex and changes in her body.
But when I walked in to her girly pink room that night, it occurred to me that I didn't want to have a talk with her.
I wanted to have a conversation with her.
A conversation that would hopefully carry us through these next several years of changes and ups and downs.
A conversation that wouldn't end after that night.
That night we talked about growing pains and hit some of the high points of puberty. We giggled and made boob jokes. We put stuffed animals under our shirts and pretended we were bigger than we were.
We were silly.
And her growing pains eased up a bit once she realized what they were.
I want our conversations to be just like that night. Lighthearted. Fun. Easy.
I know that they won't all be that way. I know that there will be tears and frustration as time goes on. I also know that she won't learn everything from me. I'm okay with that, too. I just don't want the wall between us to be so high that she doesn't feel comfortable coming to me when she can.
And I'm really looking forward to getting to know the young woman who is all too quickly emerging from my little girl.
How did the talk with your kids go? Please share your experiences.
Jennifer Collins is a Graceful Mess.
Living a messy life, full of grace.
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