HER SAY… HIS SAY…
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE OUR LITTLE GIRL GREW UP, AND IT SEEMS TO HAVE CAUGHT US BY SURPRISE
with Frances Whiting and Rory Gibson.
It was just a small, rectangular card, yet when I looked at it, I found myself catching my breath. So silly, really, that such a thing could cause such a reaction, but there it is.
Or rather, there I was, standing at the counter of a department store with a new blue dress for my daughter, and staring at its swing tag that said two words: “Older Girls”.
I looked at those words and the years sped by and somewhere in them, my daughter became an “Older Girl”.
Sometime, in these growing-up years, my little girl moved quietly past the baby section, then the toddler, then the younger girls to arrive at this new category and place, where, as I now looked around it, the clothes were cooler, funkier – older – and there was no more pink, no more fairies, and most definitely no more Elsa from Frozen.
It happens to all parents, of course, that moment when you realise that their hands are no longer like tiny pats of butter curled up in yours, or that their shoes no longer need your fingers to tie them, or that their eyes no longer search yours for every answer to every question, because they believe deeply and completely that you will know it.
Somewhere along the line, all our children become “Older Girls” or “Older Boys”, yet it seems like it catches us by surprise every single time.
I looked at that tag in the department store, and then at my daughter, and I saw that she was, indeed, an “Older Girl” now.
Eight years old, to be precise, and no longer the little girl who needed me to lift her up gently beneath her arms from her cot, or say “keep still” while I plaited her hair, or helped her down from tree branches, or lifted her high onto my shoulders when her own legs could no longer carry her.
That little girl was gone, replaced by this one, everything about her growing – her size, her strength, her knowledge, her world and her wish to explore it without me beside her, telling her to look both ways before she took a single step.
That little girl was looking at me now, her face a question mark as she asked, “Are you all right, Mummy?” And I looked at her and saw, in that instant, all she had been, and all that she was, and all that she was becoming, and I smiled yes, of course.
Because the days and weeks and years can spin by, and the swing tags can change from baby girl to older girl to teenage girl, and none of it will matter, because she will always be my girl.
“THERE’S NO MORE PINK, NO MORE FAIRIES AND DEFINITELY NO MORE ELSA FROM FROZEN”