She's always been such a sweet girl and is still young for her age in many ways. But in some ways now, not. I don't really know much about children. I was the baby of my family, five years younger than my sister. I've never spent a lot of time around kids before having my own. By choice. So my knowledge of preteen girls is extremely limited.
Anyway, we were arguing furiously when - to my surprise and my daughter's horror - I suddenly burst into tears. Very uncommon. I am not a crier.
Needless to say, the argument wrapped up quickly at that point, but the emotions stayed with me. Because, in the middle of our battle, as I watched this child who is no longer so much a child, I was overcome with an image of her as she was just a few years ago. A sweet smiling, round cheeked little angel who always had a silly face to make and a hug for everyone. Who would go into the woods and collect treasures and make pictures just for me. Mommy's butterfly girl, always.
As these pictures flashed through my head, I realized how short this part of our time together is. This is the beautiful, golden time when there is still unconditional love in it's purest form and the time when parent's are not just necessary but wanted - not yet a burden to be endured or an obligation. And I know how quickly it will race by. Already she prefers friends to family. Already she opts out of certain activities that she used to love. In so many ways, I'm so proud of how she's growing up. I love watching her change and begin the journey that will take her to the person she'll someday become, discovering new interests, developing her own style.
But in so many ways, I hate even the idea of her changing. No, not hate. Just...can't really accept.
I don't want these fleeting times to be filled only with memories of petty bickering. I never want to look back and regret the distance between us, the harsh words, the anger. But I also don't really know how to deal with some of her behavior. I can't just let it go.