I remember thinking a couple of years ago when my oldest transitioned to the secondary playground at her school that it somehow represented something bigger than higher swings.
It was, in my mind, a gateway to mascara and swear words. It was, after all, where the “big” kids played — the kids in Grades 3-6, kept apart from the K-2 set.
When she moved, it was definitely a moment for me. Bigger for me than her. I was kind of right about it being a gateway of sorts, one to incessant conversations with friends about who they “like,” texting and consistent eye rolling.
Higher swings, scarier moments
It led to fake nails and “13 Reasons Why” and the dreaded “your body is changing” class at school, the one where the boys giggle for 45 minutes and the girls blush and slink lower in their seats.
And now, it has led to another moment: Seven words that caught me totally off guard.
“Mom, I want to shave my legs.”
Crap. Really? Already?
Even though my 10-year-old has already done the body class, bought deodorant and wears a training bra, this blindsided me. Shaving? For real?
That’s dangerous, right? I’m supposed to give her a razor blade? She still asks me to pour her chocolate milk for her. I sometimes cut her steak, too, I mean, if it’s tough. And she still sleeps with a favorite teddy bear and duck wooby gifted to her at my baby shower.
She also just uttered, “I don’t want to grow up.”
Literally, right now. She just said that.
After I stopped freaking out
So, when I stopped quietly hyperventilating after hearing those words (because I obviously played it cool outwardly), I remember that I shaved my legs at her age too. At my friend’s house. Without asking permission. I just did it and told my mom later. With one of those little daisy razors. Is that what they were called? The pink ones?
By this age, I had already had my first kiss, passed notes wondering “who liked who,” (which is totally vintage texting, right?) and I’m pretty sure I had worn mascara. It was clear, but still. Oh, and I used a curling iron by myself. (It was the ’80s.)
So here we are now, and I guess I just have to go with it, huh? These moments just sneak up on us, as parents, every so often. I know the “I hate you” will smack me out of nowhere. The missed curfew. Puberty, driver’s ed, scholarship applications.
‘It’s just a moment’
I think I have to go with it. She made the “body” talk so easy, to the point we laughed and got reports from her friends about what the boys got told in their “talk.”
And, she could shave. It’s just a moment. She’s headed into her last year of elementary school, which means she’s close to not wanting to be seen with me. And the eye rolls will undoubtedly increase in frequency. She’ll have dances and dates and parties and graduate and move away.
So, shaving is a gateway to moving out, just like a taller slide was a gateway to a kiss. See? Stressful. But I can’t stop time, dang it.
These moments remind of that spot-on scene from the movie “Boyhood,” when Patricia Arquette’s character freaks out as her son leaves for college – rambling off a series of life moments that eventually lead to her funeral. Because that’s all that’s left, in her mind, after her son goes to college.
I laugh and cry every time I see it. It’s just perfect. It captures a moment.
So, I’ll show her how to shave. Fine. I will. Because I can’t stop time.
Lisa is a Gilbert mother of three who seeks adventures and new experiences to nourish her soul and introduce her kids to the different shades of the world. She’s a runner and a writer fueled by caffeine and opportunity. Find more of her work at https://mysocalledcrisis.wordpress.com.