Yes, the Princess graduated from 8th Grade last week. As one of my friends said, “She was up on that stage so much, she should have had her own chair.” Yes, she is something of an overachiever, and is well-liked by her teachers. She’s that kind of kid. She’s more than ready for high school. I do believe, for the last couple months, she’s felt halfway between both, as she’s at the high school every weekday morning for cheer, then heads off to her school for classes. She has friends who will be Seniors come fall, and friends who will just be entering seventh grade.
She’s been a teenager for nearly two years, but it seems just recently something has changed. Now it really matters to her how she looks when she walks out the door. Frizzy hair is a no-go. Clothes and shoes must be just right. Will a boy like her, ever? Will she one day be asked to prom? And oh, by the way, can she go to the mall with her friend for a few hours? Can she go with me to get a manicure? Can she have her hair colored the way the other girls are doing theirs? Wait, what? Cue eyeball roll (you know, the one so typical of teenage girls).
Where did my American-Girl-Doll-playing, I-need-a-unicorn-pillow-pet-and-unicorn-onesie, pigtail-wearing little girl go? I dropped her off at the JV Cheer Captain’s house the other day to hang out (for hours on end) with most of the JV team. They talked about boys, who is dating who, which kids got in trouble for what, dresses, nails, hair, phones. They didn’t really swim so much as they stood in the pool/floated in the pool, talking.
This all feels new. It’s as if I woke up one day to an entirely different daughter. That little girl still hovers in there, but we don’t see her often. This new, completely teenage-girl girl is who we see most. I know she sees me watching her sometimes with this searching look. And there are days I’d swear she asks questions just to try and stump me, throw me for the proverbial loop.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s still a good girl. I don’t worry too much about where her life is headed. She’s a driven, self-motivated, rule-following perfectionist. She has goals and plans. She knows what’s right, what matters. She knows one wrong choice made in a split-second can have life-altering consequences. I have a feeling the next four years are going to be kind of incredible to watch. Something has changed, and it’s scary, but it’s also wondrous to see.