Midge has been unusually excited for her birthday this year. There seems to be something magical in her mind about the number 10. Double digits seems to be a massive deal for her, which is funny because I very clearly remember my 10th birthday being a big deal for the same reason. Back in the day, the "tween" moniker wasn't in the vernacular yet. Midge has been fixated on this for about a year now ever since she saw an advertisement for "Tween Night" at Pump it Up which specified that kids between 9-12 were able to attend. I wasn't all about giving their "tween" parameters any credence so I've been telling her that I don't think "tween" really applies until you're 10. Now that is coming back to bite me in the ass. Imagine that.
The truth of the matter is having been to this dance twice before already, I know Midge is just about to cross into that awkward twilight between being a kid and, well, not being so much a kid anymore. There are things that I recognize in her that slipped under my radar with Banana and Red. I know now that asking for clothes as gifts is a sign that she's becoming more aware of what she wants her peers to perceive her as. She no longer wants to wear anything that could be construed as "baby" clothes. This means she no longer wears anything with a character on it like Hello Kitty, although I'm sure something with Bella Swan or Katniss would pass muster. She has traded watching cartoons for watching reruns of Full House. Fantasy books about princesses have been upgraded to Hunger Games. Her musical taste needs a little polishing on my part because she has been obsessed with Taylor Swift for longer than I care to admit, and I don't think she cared much for me car dancing and word-for-wording it with the Snoop/Dre/Tupac mix on the way home from my dad's the other night. (For those of you questioning how appropriate that is, it was on the radio and edited. I, however, didn't censor myself. If you want to throw shade, feel free, water off a duck's back and all that.) Her dad and I won't be getting her a phone anytime in the foreseeable future, but her friends do now Facetime her on my phone on a regular basis. The signs are all there. It won't be long until the hormones gobble her up and turn her into a lipgloss-wearing, gum-smacking, music-blasting, door-slamming bundle of omnipotent joy that can make the toughest of us want to curl up in the fetal position and suck our thumbs in the shower. I'm on gravy time, people. Don't try to convince me otherwise. I've been here before. I know.
If I could convince her to take to heart just one thing in her life, it would be the same thing I wish I could impart on all my girls. It's the one thing that we only learn once it's too late, and that is you only get to be a kid once. Enjoy it. It is every parent's job to set and enforce boundaries, and it's every kid's job to push them. I understand that for right now, Midge doesn't like being told when to go to bed, or that the T.V. can't be on while anyone is doing homework, or that she has to be in when the streetlights come on. I know these boundaries will evolve into bigger things, and I know she will push those too because she knows better than I do because what could I possibly know? I'm old, don't stay up late, wear clothes my girls wouldn't be caught dead in and couldn't possibly understand what it's like to be their age. I'll be honest with you. I'd give my left leg to have one day of being a kid again. I'd gladly trade a day of getting up early, working, cleaning, cooking, laundry and worrying about kids' assignments, activities, drama, school and OMG HOW AM I GOING TO AFFORD ALL THIS for a day of being a kid again. I'd play ghost in the graveyard, color a few pictures, dance and sing into my hairbrush in the mirror, go swimming with my friends and not give a shit how I looked in my swimsuit, maybe ride my bike and hang out at the park. I'd make sure it was a day before I knew boys even existed. Talk about carefree. Those were the days.
So tonight while we sing happy birthday, I will do my best to come to terms that it's really been an entire decade since I held my Midge for the first time. I'm no longer a 26 year old that thought she had it all planned and figured out, and my girl is no longer a baby. I know she will never tell me what it is she wishes for when she closes her eyes tight and blows out her candles but that's ok, because I'm going to piggyback on her cake and make a wish too. I hope she holds tight to the kid end of this growing up deal as long as she can, because it's something you don't get back no matter how hard you wish. Don't be in such a hurry, kid.
Happy birthday my little Midge. Mama loves you.