Are you going to cry again when you do the post for my birthday?
— Kylie, in the hallway the night of the 30th
I think that question sums up quite nicely the level of awareness and maturity that my daughter now holds as she turns ten today. After getting her own phone last year for her birthday1, she has spent more time discovering things for herself than in past years. It’s something that I had written about before, and likely something I’ll write again next year, but this year really was a step up from a year ago. Kylie discovered my blog and definitely has read some of the past posts I have written about her, hence the question about me crying.
These writings have always been rather personal for me so it is quite strange when my daughter is asking me if I have written anything in the week leading up to her birthday. That’s the downside of writing in a public space, I suppose.
Her path towards independence started this year. Every moment she can, she tries to do things on her own or wants to be in front leading the way. It doesn’t seem that long ago where I wasn’t comfortable going downstairs to check the mail in my building, because who knows what a kid will do in that short of amount of time. Now, she’s almost suggesting that she go home and I go downstairs. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal if you don’t have kids. But after spending almost every day, every waking hour with them near you for years, it is weird when they start letting go of your hand.
There are small moments of this happening through the year. Giving the orders at the Starbucks counter, ordering online through the app or searching for things on Amazon, or helping to deliver hot lunches at her school each week are some examples off the top of my head. I think the big wakeup call for me happened only last week on Boxing Day.
I’m not one for crowds and never have been. I did think it would be fun for Kylie to experience that kind of shopping and see what is was like looking for good deals. Armed with a gift card for the mall, we set off to check out Justice, probably a drink, and see what else we could find. A few moments after stepping into Justice, she tells me, “You can go now.” Playful, not bossy, but it still stung. She had her phone and I trusted her she would connect with me when she was done.
Not quite an hour later, I was wondering what happened to her. There was no way she could have spent that much time in one store. She sent me a message to ask where I was when I was thinking of her. When I caught up with her, she was at Mr. Pretzel. She had a bag full of soaps from Bath & Body Works, had grabbed a drink from Blenz, and now was grabbing a snack. She said she was done and would come back another day when it was less busy. A successful trip for her, surely a fun one for her as she bumped into a friend in a store, and one massive step towards being a more independent girl.
Another moment of independence happened at IKEA during our trip to visit my sister and her family in the Lower Mainland. It was time to redo her bedroom and I suggested we take advantage of the trip to spend some time in IKEA. I gave her a budget to work with and showed her how to do shopping lists on the IKEA website. She went through the website, picked everything out that she wanted, and then we had the lists ready when we walked into the store. Naturally, as one tends to do in IKEA, she was over her budget when we stopped to grab lunch. She wrote down the prices of everything she bought and had to make a decision on what to cut out. When it was time to go through the warehouse to find the boxes, she insisted on finding the marked areas herself and wanted to pull out the heavy boxes herself.
It was one of those moments where you realize as a parent how well prepared your daughter is becoming for the journey in life. You feel like they should be dependent on you, but it feels good to give them that nudge out of the nest and you both realize that the kid can fly.
2019 was an eventful year for us both with a lot of fun adventures. The trip to Vancouver (visiting family, IKEA, Vancouver Aquarium, camping, Bridal Falls and Othello Tunnels), several overnight hiking trips to Christie Falls with her mom, another year of dance completed, seeing World of Dance Live, lots of trips up to Big White (after school program and with her mom), and enough slime making to fill a few bathtubs. Various summer and spring break camps as well, with more camps lined up this winter. Just over one more school year to go and Kylie will be heading off to middle school. Frightening to think she is almost halfway done her schooling before she gets to decide on the next path for her life.
2020 and the next ten years are going to be full of exciting challenges, new discoveries, and continuing to grow. I don’t know if I’m prepared for this, but I do know she’s ready to spread her wings and soar.
Mini-Playlist: 5 Songs for 2019
Book: Dork Diaries
- I know, I know, but it was for a valid reason. ↩