It’s funny the things that make you stop and realize – really, actually, punch-to-the-gut realize – that your firstborn little baby is growing up.
Yes, there’s the obvious stuff – buying her a training bra; that moment you bust out in the Justice changing room “Ohmygod – you have hips!” and she responds all breathy, excited and worried, “Hips! What are hips!?”; giving in and letting her shave her legs because you can see how self-conscious she’s becoming and you want to stop that rightnow (and also because yes, it’s time). That’s the stuff you know is coming. You expect it.
Then there are the tippy-toe moments you don’t see coming until they wallop you upside the head. Things as innocuous as a box full of books and bookish trinkets. Like an Owlcrate box.
This is waiting for my baby girl when she gets home from school tonight. It’s a monthly subscription service filled with YA books and magical items (a necklace, bookmarks, etc.) that Auntie Kim discovered. When Gracie-girl was going through her hearing-loss issues, Auntie Kim, knowing just how that goes, sent a package in an old OwlCrate box because the boxes are indeed Quite Awesome, even when they’re being re-purposed. Gracie thought it was an actual OwlCrate subscription box, having watched me un-box quite a few BookRiot boxes, and was a little disappointed – though she hid it well and was over-the-moon about the care package items.
And so Gracie-girl’s Christmas gift from Auntie Kim was quite easy – a month or three of OwlCrate.
Gracie is thrilled. I have never seen her race for the mail box quite this fast, or check the front stoop with such fervor. She feels grown up. And what’s more – she looks it. Okay, she was a bit of a madwoman opening her December box, but she was hopped up on sugar and the lawlessness of the holidays. When I texted her yesterday with this picture? She was all calm and simply asked if I wanted to help take pictures when she unboxed. Maybe the goofiness will return by the time she gets home. Maybe she’ll tear through everything like Animal looking for his drumsticks… but with this newfound grownupishness, maybe she won’t.
And there it is. That thunk. That feeling that just around the corner is a time when Gracie will be a teenager, more and more independent and less and less like a whirlabout kid looking to prank her mama or steal someone’s attention because HELLO, HAVE WE NOTICED HER YET? Eventually Gracie is going to stop striving to feel like a grownupish person and just declare herself so. And while that will come with feelings and awkwardness and all manner of things (because, okay – teenager), Gracie has enough independence and wherewithall that when she does decide it, it will be true. True-ish. True enough.
Okay: that’s enough thinking this week. Enough inward reflection. SHE’S NOT EVEN TWELVE YET, KATIE. A box of magical monthly reads, indeed.