My baby is growing up.

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That’s my baby girl growing up. Overnight.

Recently, my eleven year old daughter and I were checking out at the grocery store, when the cashier, a high school boy who seemed nice enough at first, made me decidedly want to punch him in the face.

While scanning my gluten-free crackers (just kidding, I’m sure it was ice cream), he was eyeing my child up and down. My blood was already boiling when he asks me what school she goes to, because he hasn’t seen her before. I said, “yeah, that’s because SHE’S ELEVEN!!!

Admittedly, she doesn’t look eleven.

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I still wanted to choke him.

What I’m honestly struggling with, though (beside dirty, gross boys checking her out), is that she’s growing up, and it’s going so fast.

She’s 5’7″ already, taller than I am, and incredibly independent. I commonly joke that she could easily make it on her own if she could drive. Luckily, she still needs me for that, so I have a few more years left that I have her trapped in the car with me for a few minutes here and there. Truth be told, I’m having a hard time letting go. A really hard time.

She’s needed me for almost everything her whole life, and very quickly, she’s needing me less and less. I’m proud of her, but truthfully, I’m scared of who I am without her. For more than a decade, my identity has largely been defined as being a mother. I love being a mother, and I will always be a mother. But as my daughter gains more independence, who am I outside of that? I’m forever changed because of her, so how do I discover more of myself now that I can? Or is it more a case of just learning how “to be” with no definition/role/identity?

Moms (or even Dads if this resonates with you), how have you learned to let go as your child grows up?

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