Sixth Grade Graduate

Today is a big day for my daughter. Today she graduates from primary school. We have been planning for it for a very long time, and it’s involved a lot of elements that weren’t included in my son’s big day last year. For example, all sixth grade graduates need to wear black pants or skirts and shoes and white tops. For my son, this involved buying:
1) The first pair of black pants that fit
2) The first white dress shirt that fit
3) His dad’s black shoes
For my girl child, it’s been a bit more complicated. I don’t know how many of you have been shopping with a teen girl, but let me tell you this: there is nothing they enjoy more than picking things out, trying them on, rejecting them, and getting angry with you because you thought they looked really nice (and the fact that you are obviously lying).
For example, the black skirt involved multiple, agonizing searches for just the right circle shape that covered more than the essentials, and in the end a tearful request to a talented seamstress to whip up nothing less than a miracle.
The first white shirt was unacceptable, as was the twenty-ninth. Finally, feeling eerily calm, I stepped away from the issue and sent her with her stepsister and her father, because a) her stepsister is twenty and considered the only cool person in the family and b) her father was (until that point) completely unaware of the difficulty of shopping with a teen girl and therefore naively happy to help. She came back with a lovely shirt that everyone thought was great and, most importantly, was chosen by her sister.
The shoes. Well, that was pretty easy. All it took was telling her that the black ballet flats at H&M were the only ones approved by the school principal (sorry Miss Nancy, I did what I had to). At that point, I just needed to not be in the mall anymore.
After that, there were Hair Considerations. My girl has this beautiful mane that she inherited from both her jet-black haired father and me, La Rubia. Her hair is this lovely light brown shot through with natural blond highlights for which most folks pay a month’s worth of tacos. It is, however, Completely Wrong because apparently it has frizz, so we must anti-frizz. I longed for last year when The Boy got a fifteen minute trim which needed a gob of gel that he certainly didn’t care about.
But we made it through somehow, and here we are today making our final adjustments on the custom made skirt and the virtually invisible kink on one hank of hair. And suddenly I can’t breathe through the mother-sized lump in my throat, because she’s breathtaking and mature and suddenly ready for high school.
This little girl who twirled around my living room in a pink satin tutu (and that’s all), this sweet one who pretended to make me tea, this beloved creature who only wanted five danonino yogurts for every single meal all through preschool; this girl is going to high school.
She’s old enough to be lovely and poised, but young enough to have no idea that she is. She’s old enough to know about makeup and high heels, but young enough to be ok with not using them (yet). She’s old enough to spend hours planning this whole Look she’s got going on, and young enough to twist my heart to see her looking so hopeful that she got it right.
You’ve got it right, my girl. I’m so proud of this growing young lady that you are, and I’m so certain of the great things you will do. Now let’s go get that diploma.

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