The End of An Era! Raising a Tween

We, as parents, rarely think about what it means for our children to grow up while we are changing diapers or playing in the park. Why would we, our children becoming adults seem like a million years away? But it sneaks up on you. Anyone who has raised a child into a teenager knows that at some point we all look back and say where did the time go.

It really does feel like my daughter was just born not that long ago and as her 12th birthday looms around the corner, it’s really hard to believe that she’s about to become a teen in a year. It’s both scary and exciting, but at times I want to scream out: “It’s the end of an era!” I’m not sure why I should be surprised by the fact that my daughter decided to grow up without my permission. There are always signs, ones as parents that we choose to ignore. The Barbie’s don’t get played with any longer, they start reading chapter books and YouTube videos become the norm.

This March Break, my daughter and I decided to head back to my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie and one day we went into a Bar and Grill called Wacky Wings to get a couple of Cookie Monster ice cream drinks. I had heard about them from a friend and I wanted to bring my daughter there for a treat. When we walked in, she turned down the children’s menu and asked for an adult menu instead. She didn’t even glance at the crayons and coloring book they gave her. Instead, she watched the music videos that played on the many TV screens throughout the restaurant. The drinks were pretty awesome but what was better was the time we spent together and the conversations we had.

My daughter becoming a young lady took me by surprise because sometimes that little girl still peeks out and wants to have a tea party. But those days are becoming rarer. The shock comes when I start buying training bras and teaching her how to shave. Gone are the days when I am doing up her jacket for her. Her independence is starting to show and she no longer minds spending time alone. Now instead of wondering when her next tooth is going to come in, I start to wonder if her period is just right around the corner. I no longer have to worry about her running out in the middle of the street, but a new swarm of worries comes in. We’ve all been there, where does the time go?

It’s really hard to believe. I am constantly shocking myself when I look at her pictures and realize that she’s not a little girl anymore. The only thing we can do at this point is to accept the inevitable and realize that there is still a lot to look forward to as we embark on a very different relationship with our tweens. Things are changing, but one thing I love about my daughter at this age is how close we have become and how we can talk to each other about anything. Growing up doesn’t have to be a bad thing, we just have another opportunity of being there for our children in a different way.

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