Baby steps to letting my baby girl grow up!
” Last day ever wearing winter uniform!!!!!”
This is the post my grade 12 daughter recently put up on facebook.
With five exclamation marks, I suggest she’s quite excited about the looming end of her schooling years, and she did get quite a lot of thumbs up from her friends.
It means another milestone passed on the ever-quickening march to my baby girl saluting the end of childhood and becoming a grown up- moving on, moving out and maybe even moving away.
I believe it’s so much more poignant because I know these are the last moments.
I didn’t know the last time she’d crawl into bed with me in the morning, the last time she’d ask me to do her hair, the last time she’d run and hug me when I walked in the door from work, the last time she’d swim a butterfly race or the last time she’d eat meat.
I first felt this lump in my throat of time being swallowed when I watched her play her last game of waterpolo for her school earlier in the year.
I recognised as she put on her bathing cap and jumped in the pool, that this would be her final game. She has chosen to follow her dream in basketball and other sporting pursuits have been falling by the court side.
Now I’ve become a sad sack of sentiment.
I had the same melancholy thoughts when:
-she started her final year of school
-she played her last game of schoolgirl basketball and had two of her sisters play the last few minutes of the last game alongside her
-she finished the first term of grade 12 knowing she only had one to go
– the school sent home details of her valedictory dinner and end of school celebrations
-she reels off by heart how many weeks and days of school to go
– she was driving well enough for me to have a sneaky game of candy crush instead of watching her at the wheel
-she washed and hung up the afore-mentioned, never-to-be-worn-again winter uniform
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I brushed her short brown hair, helped her tie her shoe laces ( two bows and twist), packed a lunchbox of vegemite sandwiches, plonked an over-sized hat on her head and waved good bye to that adorable little five year old on her first day at school.
She was so excited to be a ‘big girl’ that neither of us had first day tears. Not like the ones that threaten to spill over every time I think of these last few weeks encroaching ever closer.
Back then, she raced off and happily started school and began the rush to finish it.
Since that day, the milestones have ticked over and like the chocolate devouring the lollies before all the jelly has been crushed (ok I’m a little obsessed with candy crush- but hey I don’t have to pack lunchboxes or tie shoelaces anymore so I have a tiny bit more time) the ticking is getting faster and louder.
Milestones and memories like:
-getting chicken pox
-winning swimming age championships
-breaking her arm riding a skateboard to school
-wearing the boys’ uniform because the girls’ skorts ‘sucked’ and you ‘can’t tackle properly’
-the first boyfriend
-the second boyfriend
-the same second boyfriend back for another try
-the rowing highs, lows, blisters, camps and comps
-the waterpolo wins
-being bribed with chocolate to shoot in waterpolo games (not me – the coaches)
-the parties where the lolly table and the sleep-over were the big lures
-the more recent parties where friends had to call her mother or her mother’s friends had to take her home
-on the flip-side, the growing love of history
-the growing responsibility about her marks and her life after school
-flipping again, getting detention almost every week for not wearing her hat to school
-getting pocket-money deducted for not cleaning her room
The smiles, the tears, the injuries, the triumphs, the jokes and the joy.
I can’t wait to see what choices she’ll make, what dreams she’ll discard or decide to follow, what adventures she’ll embark on, where her sport might take her, what friends she’ll keep or who she’ll meet next.
So don’t get me wrong, I really am five exclamation marks and more excited for her future.
The tears are just pride.