Last week was a week of milestones, and I find myself freaking out just a little bit. My baby turned 8. Of course, today at the orthodontist when he asked her what birthday number she celebrated she said with absolute believability, “Twenty.” He laughed and my mouth fell, because honestly, as fast as the last 8 years have gone, the next 12 will fly by and before I know it, she WILL be twenty. Sigh.
Add to that realization that I recently (brace yourself) bought my oldest a bra. She will be 10 in two weeks. That was the next sock in the gut of motherhood after the startling revelation that buying shoes for her now is easy – if they fit me, they will fit her. All I could think as I she tried on the bra was, “Holy cow! If she’s anything like me in another year she’ll be stuffing it!” Sigh.
I spoke at a women’s conference this weekend, and there was the sweetest young man there with such a heart of goodness and love that I thought, “He’s a Toby.” (If you’ve read my book you know exactly how highly a paid compliment that is!) I pondered, “I’d like Maddie to date someone like that…” When I realized, if she waited until she was in college and thirty (as her dad has commanded), she actually could date him! Later, I was commenting on the boys facebook page, thanking him for his heart and his service, and Maddie said, “He is cute.” Not thinking it through I said, “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind you dating him.” She asks, “How old is he?” I said, “Sixteen, I think.” At which point Lily said, “Well, what qualifies (yes she totally said that word) her to date him?” I said, “Well, he loves Jesus.” Without a pause she retorted, “Well, I love Jesus! I could date him!” Oh wow. So not ready for all of this, even if I did inadvertently start it.
I’m not sure when the development (no pun intended) of the “Tween scene” began – perhaps a marketing gimmick for Disney? – but it still in my opinion pushes these kids too quickly to teenagedoom…I mean, teenagedom. I’m not ready for that. They aren’t ready for that. There are games to play, dolls to name, and fantasies to live out long before they think they are “too cool.” I wanna hold onto my little girls as long as I possibly can. I want them to look sideways at boys like they have cooties and can’t be touched. I want them to lose themselves in their imaginations playing dolls and Barbies. I want them to run and play and jump outside without wondering what others will think. I want them to watch Veggie Tales and laugh at their daddy’s chest hair. I want them to stay young and innocent and unmarred!
This afternoon in an act of defiance and renouncing the progress of time, like a spoiled and pouting Peter Pan, I ripped off my bra, encouraged Maddie to do the same, and grabbed my favorite Barbie and played. Boys and bras can wait. Barbie and Ken forever. 🙂