There's a teenager in my house.
I remember a time, not so long ago, when I had a little girl with pigtails and brightly colored fingernails dancing through the living room on her way to change her outfit for the 10th time that day. I recall birthday parties with 14 classmates dressed in full princess garb descending upon us for a tea party fit for a queen. Years of makeovers, princess cakes, movie-themed sleepovers and marble cake. Always marble cake.
This morning I woke up on January 11th, and as I do every year, watched my little girl eat her birthday pancakes and tried to see her through someone else's eyes. While she will always be that tiny girl in ringlets, holding my hand and singing a song, its important I remember she's growing up and becoming a person in her own right. What I saw made me smile.
Today the little syrup-smeared birthday girl of the past was replaced by a young lady who neatly cut her pancakes with a knife. She carefully blew out her candle and cleaned it before setting it on the table. She laughed at something her little sister said with incredible patience and reminded her brother to sit up so as not to get syrup on his sleeve. She smiled at me like an adult when I sat down to eat with them and talked excitably about the day to come. She began receiving birthday wishes via text before her feet hit the floor and expressed genuine gratitude for all the messages on both our facebook pages. After a careful outfit selection and meticulously applied layer of makeup, she was ready for her big day. I was happy to see there were pigtails in her hair today; some things never change.
She headed out the door then with two of her friends, bursting with excitement....but not before she stopped to give me a huge hug and a big sloppy kiss. She may be my height and headed into her teens, but we both know she will always be my baby girl.
And now the fun begins.