She’s turning Twelve.

“She’s turning 12!” I find myself saying that a lot lately. Toady is my daughters 12th birthday and I find myself verbalizing that fact a great deal, and not for the reasons you would think.
Most moms, at this point in a daughter’s life, tend to use terms like “Where did the time go?” and “I can’t believe she’s already 12!” Not me. I find myself constantly reminding myself and others…”She’s only turning 12”. Seems odd, I know, let me explain.
In October of 2009 we sat in a classroom, in tiny little chairs that barely held us, surrounded by toys, posters and bookcases reminding us that this is where children start their journey in education; kindergarten. We were presented with a decision, one that would affect the course of our daughter’s entire life. (No pressure!) That day, in that kindergarten class, someone I respect a great deal, someone who I always looked to for advice and guidance, warned me. She warned me that this decision to put my 5 year old ahead to 1st grade, may seem easy now but, more than the immediate consequences, I needed to think about how this would affect us, affect her, socially, when my little girl hit 6th, 7th, & 8th grade. That was amazing advice!
We have never, not one single minute, regretted the decision we made that October weekend. And let me tell you, once the decision was made (with her, very beyond her years, input) she has never looked back. But there has been one drawback now that we have hit the junior high years. You see, this little girl of mine, sometimes she forgets that she has limitations. Sometimes she forgets that she is “only turning 12”. She puts a heck of a lot of pressure on herself, she expects that she should handle life like her older friends, and she doesn’t give herself a whole lot of slack when that doesn’t happen. She plays on two basketball teams, while maintaining high honors, has a robust social life and also does volunteer work.
I get it, I remind people a lot that she’s younger than her classmates, then the majority of her friends. I’m pretty sure they think I’m bragging. Sometimes, I am. Most times, I’m not. Most times I’m putting things in perspective. Putting them in perspective for you, for her friends, for me, and mostly for her.
Most of the time when I say “She’s only turning 12” it’s because I need to remind HER that she needs to slow down and be 12 years old. I need to remind her that it’s okay to like to color and craft, to watch Disney Movies and play with toys; that she should crinkle her freckled nose and say “No, thank you” when a boy asks her to dance; that it’s okay to shop in the girl’s department and wear footie pajamas, that she doesn’t need to worry about high school yet, or know what she wants her major to be in college. I need to remind her that’s it’s okay to say I don’t understand or ask for help; that no one, no matter how old they are or what grade they are in, is expected to be perfect.
I say “She’s only 12” a lot because I need to put in perspective FOR HER that the things she is accomplishing are out of the ordinary; that she should not be expected to meet the social milestones of her classmates right now, that she may have a 12-year-old moment every once in a while and that’s perfectly okay. So if you see my daughter having a rough day or a great day for that matter, all I ask is that you, and she, remember “She’s only  12”!

Digital Marketing professional. Graduate of Southern New Hampshire University. Searching for WiFi hotpots in Manchester, NH with my husband, while raising three digital natives tethered to numerous mobile devices.

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