The Princess is thirteen…..she’s on the verge of all that fun stuff…..and I can see it coming. I look in her eyes, and all those hopes and dreams just come shining out. Do you remember what it was like?
She still covers her eyes when she sees people kissing in movies and on television, but she’s also becoming fascinated with romance. I see in her eyes those hopes for the future – dating, boyfriends, relationships, marriage. She and some of her friends have begun to imagine their weddings already – where they want them to be, what their dresses will look like. I remember doing the same about that age. Life seems it should be the lyrics of the songs you hear.
She’s talking about college. We are reaching the age where the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question becomes a little more serious. She’s making plans, thinking about things, where she wants to go, what she wants to do. It is so very strange to have these conversations with her when it seems she was just starting kindergarten.
I look at her and I see all the hope I used to have before life happened. That’s not to say I’m completely cynical and without hope for life at this point. But I’m halfway through this thing (or thereabouts). She’s still in that cocoon of childhood. She’s beginning to look towards her future. It’s amazing to see from the outside. I want to grab onto some of that. I want to tell her things. I want to direct her, but I can only guide gently. I’m a spectator in her life.
Her heart will be broken, maybe more than once. At least one dream will be crushed. Goals and plans will change. Life never really does go the way you expect. Surprises and pitfalls lay along the way. I would shelter her from all the hurt if I could. But hurt also helps you grow and mature. So I will be there to lift her back up, offer a shoulder to cry on, be her cheerleader.
It is a privilege to watch this journey of hers. It gives me hope and courage, knowing I must set an example, must prepare her as best I can for life beyond home and school. I look with complete joy, and a little bit of heartache, as she begins to navigate these waters of growing up.