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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Reflections on a little girl

Posted January 15, 2012

My older daughter turns 12 tomorrow. While she is now on the precipice of her teen years, in many ways, she is already a young woman, who has literally grown up before my eyes in the past year.

She is almost as tall as I am, and her feet have surpassed mine by several sizes. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t mistake a photograph of her for me or vice versa. I even turned around one day in the kitchen to the surprise of one of her neighborhood friends, who thought I was my daughter from behind.

But it is not just the physical changes I have noticed; there are emotional ones as well. She is more independent, takes more responsibility for things and has secrets from her mother. Not big secrets (I hope), but things she now shares only with her friends.

I try not to pry, but I think this is the hardest break for a mother — the time when their daughters begin to confide in peers and stop telling you everything. It is a healthy and normal part of growing up, to share with your social group and become more independent from your parents, but this doesn’t make it any easier for mothers.

No matter how tall she gets (I am sure she will surpass me), or how independent, she will always be the baby I rocked so many nights in her nursery as bitter winter weather pounded our roof. She will always be the baby I slept with in the hospital crib when she was very ill as an infant.

She will always be the precocious little girl who learned to talk, count and read way ahead of schedule. She will always be my first born, in a lifetime of firsts … first words, first birthday, first steps, first haircut, first time on the beach, first bike ride, first piano recital.

Even if she doesn’t remember all of these things, I will never forget them. And someday, maybe, just maybe, she will begin to tell me her secrets again…

Amanda is the mother of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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  • caniac315 Jan 16, 2012

    Amanda, you are a natural storyteller. I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. beautiful.

  • Chris_H Jan 16, 2012

    My oldest son turned 21 today - cherish this time as they grow up so fast - just don't know where time goes. The teen years are a bit rough - have another son that is 16 but they do come I sent my newly 21 year old back to college from his break - very proud. The first child has some special moments - I guess because they are are first time through something for both us as parents and them as have so many more firsts to come still....

  • iriemom Jan 16, 2012

    My oldest son will be 9 years old in May, and I'm constantly amazed at his more mature behavior that is interlaced with lots of less mature behavior. There are times I say "act your age" when I know that he really is, and I know I don't want him to grow up too fast. Your blog post today brought tears to my eyes as I watch my own two kids grow up right in front of me - too fast for me and too slow for them!

  • river Jan 16, 2012

    I can totally relate to this, my daughter, my firstborn, turned 12 10 days ago, she came 10 days early. That was the year of the big snowstorm. She's so... grown up now, but not. I miss her days of yelling "I wake up!" first thing as a declaration to the world that she's ready for the day. She's changed too, we're not the only ones anymore that matter in her world. It's hard for me because I know that noone can possibly wish as much good for her as I do. But I know she knows that too, she just needs to make those other bonds and this is part of that.

  • pirategirl12 Jan 16, 2012

    I remember the preteen and teen years when mom was stupid and didn't know anything! It was soon as I got into college and grew up, she gained all of this wonderful knowledge and became the smartest person I knew! She was my very best friend and knew all of my secrets again!

  • Zelda Jan 15, 2012

    As the mother of a firstborn daughter who turned 30 yesterday, I am pretty certain that she will tell you her secrets again. She just has to separate from you first, a process that you are noticing and that will continue through her teen years. Lovely blog.