Hey, you know how you go and have a baby and you try to imagine what that baby will look like as she grows, and you giggle while you imagine how she'll go through puberty and be a rubbish kid and it's funny because all that seems so impossible when you are holding a newborn in your arms?
And then one day you realize that nearly eleven years have passed and that baby has blue hair and is starting to calls you, 'Mother,' instead of mama and rolls her eyes when you talk while demanding to be taken to the bookstore for a frappe?
And it's terrifying because you can see both how she's so capable and vulnerable at the same time and she's still a few years away from being a full fledged teenager and what's that going to be like?!
But then you remember that she's always been a bit cheeky and too smart for her own good and that just like learning how to care for a baby, then toddler and so on, you will learn to care for the teenager as well. You are a good mom. You can tell because you help your baby dye her hair blue and do all the things and don't even make her go to school. You read her books and feed her mostly healthy food and talk in a calm voice even when you want to throttle her. You try very hard to be the kind of mom you think that you would of both liked and needed when you were ten.
And then your baby comes up to you and says she wants to go to regular school
next year to just to hang out with her friends and you realize that she's
willing to sacrifice her freedom in order to spend her days with children who mock her for not shaving her legs (she's ten!) and boys who throw pudding at her. And she was wearing your sweater that time and chocolate pudding does not easily come out of wool. And then you remember the tiny baby you held in your arms that you swore you would always care for and protect, not realizing that in a mere decade that baby would be fighting for the opportunity to not have you care for her and not have you protect her?
As you breath through this latest development, you also remember another
promise you made, this one to yourself and have kept. You take pictures. Lots of
pictures of the child. Of things that are important and things that are maybe not such a big deal. Every day. Because even though it was hard to believe at the time, that small baby would grow up and defy you then leave you and that is as it's supposed to be.