She looks older all of a sudden. I noticed it about a week after she started junior high. Maybe it’s the bangs. They’re really flattering, and encompass her face like a framed work of art. But there is something else too. She holds herself differently, a little a taller. The timbre of her voice has changed, a little deeper and, believe it or not, less whiny. I could swear she’s gotten taller in the last month too. And there are gestures and exclamations that I haven’t seen before. More mature, more grown up, exuberant.
I realize that on her next birthday, only six months away, she will be thirteen. I only just got used to twelve. All those things I’d promised her she could do (wear makeup, go places on her own) I will have to let her do. I’d push off makeup until she was sixteen if I could, but I can’t. She’s there. Much as I’d like to deny it. I’ve loved my daughter at every age. And her wonderfulness does not change, just expands and stretches and reaches out further into the world. Like all well-brought up kids, she confidently grows away from me bit by bit, and I grab onto precious memories until she rolls her eyes at me yet again. And we smile indulgently at each other, and I must release my hold just a little bit more.