Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thoughts about Emma turning 12

**For my non-Mormon friends: In the LDS religion, 12 is kind of a big age.  From 3-12, kids attend the children’s Sunday school organization.  When they turn 12, a girl enters Young Women and attends classes and activities geared toward adolescents.  They are able to enter areas of our temples for the first time.  It really symbolizes an end of childhood.**

In the months leading up to her birthday, people would ask me how I felt about her turning 12.  I would answer: “Oh, she’s really ready.  She’s so mature and excited about this next stage in her life.  I’m happy for her.”  I meant it. 

And then 4 days before her birthday, during our family scripture study, we got a knock on the door.  All of the girls in her new Young Women class were there, surprising her and welcoming her with a song and a candy-gram.  Cute, right?

YW2YW

Except I was standing at the door, barely able to be civil.  I was so surprised by my feelings and surprised by the realization that I was MAD at these ladies for coming to take my child and turn her into a teenager!  I knew it was illogical and tried to get over it, but I quickly figured out that night that this transition was going to be a little more painful for me than I thought.

bdayparty2

We celebrated with a birthday lunch at Red Robin, jumping at the local trampoline place with her three closest friends and present opening in the car.  As we drove, I listened to these girls talk about BOYS, as they got more and more hyper and goofy, and again had to face the fact:  she is not a child anymore.

Emma's 12th Birthday 2

I got choked up as I decorated her birthday table, and sorted pictures of a baby that will never be a baby again, a kindergarten that I’ll never get to hang out with again, an innocent 8 year old fresh from the waters of baptism that is starting this probably not-so-innocent phase.  I remembered an older friend telling me “After they turn 12, it just goes by in a blink.”

Boo.

Since her birthday we’ve had 2 Beehive lessons, 1 youth fireside, 2 Young Women activities (all of which she LOVED LOVED LOVED).  She’s already busier, different, more mature, truly-- in 10 days.  Maybe I’m being dramatic, but I can feel the change.

Spokane Temple Family

There are wonderful things about this 12 year old…a family trip to the temple to do baptisms, as I thrilled to introduce her to the peace and profundity that can be found in temple service.  Or family prayers that show a spiritual maturity that she needs and shares with her siblings.  She is a capable babysitter, a good example to her friends, fun to talk to when she unloads after school.

I know it won’t be bad.  I know there will be joy in this stage, too.   scan0001

But I’m allowed to mourn my first little girl, just a little bit, aren’t I?

30 comments:

Shirley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie said...

You are TOTALLY allowed to mourn these transitions. 12 is a biggie, harder than 8 or 14. Hang in there, mama!xo

Shopper Gal said...

Oh Jess, my heart is sad for what you're experiencing. It's terribly difficult to see our girls grow up so swiftly. But, she is turning into a gorgeous, responsible, kind young lady!! HUGS my friend!!
Tessa

Ashley said...

Beautiful post about a beautiful young lady... I was teary through the whole thing.

Carie said...

Well said. Transitions are hard but wonderful and necessary.

Rachel said...

Jess I have been wondering how you're doing with all this. Emma is such a darling girl. Watching her enter YW has made me already get sad for Rylynn. It all just goes way too fast.

Rochelleht said...

I'm worried about it myself. Mostly because it feels like Jane is TOTALLY not mature enough. My husband and I keep hoping something magical will happen in the next 6 months. ;-)

Jenna said...

Sheesh, girl. My Emma turns 12 in May and I was totally excited for her and now I'm a mess.

day in the life of a prince said...

I love this post! I think because I know I'm going to be feeling the EXACT same things before too long!

Christie said...

Mourn away, mama. We're all here mourning ourselves. Somehow, I had it in my head that my Chase was turning 11 this year. I've been thinking that for months. Only to realize, sadly, he will be 12. That is TWO for me in young mens. I don't like it. Not one bit.

Cami said...

Oh ouch.
I love hearing your heart be so tied up in this.
I totally get your angerbittergrump about the girls coming in with a surprise.
Keep your chin up and (apparently) don't blink!

the wrath of khandrea said...

i got a little teary reading this. it's so different for a boy turning 12, at least socially. the priesthood was a big deal, and i felt these things. but the rest of it? it mostly involves "hey can i go play basketball at the church again?"

jessica said...

I am holding back my tears and I'm all choked up. Mostly because I realize Maya is getting close to that transition herself. I am not ready, not at all. But I also have watched Emma grow into this beautiful person. I love her! You and Ryan should be so proud of that girl...in spite of her conferences yesterday.

Brooke Romney said...

Oh boy, that made me so teary. We're going through some big things this year too, and I'm not sure I'm ready.

Anisa said...

Wow, I didn't realize what a big age 12 is.....

She has great parents that are such a good example to her... she'll be an awesome teenager.

Nikki said...

I just saw a friend's pictures as she dropped off her son at the MTC. I had a small panic attack. Sometimes good things hurt when you're the mom. Giving our children wings is so good....and very painful :)

Lauren in GA said...

Aw, Jessica. That was so beautifully written. I think you are definately allowed to mourn. I only have boys...but I think it might be more traumatic to have a daughter enter Young Women than a son enter Young Men. I guess because the maturity factor was not evident right away. Not by a long shot. Perhaps it was all of the body humor jokes and administering of head locks that the Deacons share with each other. In a sick way...the lack of maturity almost made the transition easier on the old gal. (Meaning, me ☺)

Emma is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Inside and out. This post made me teary.

Tristan said...

First Happy Birthday to Emma! She is such a beautiful young lady inside and out!

Now, *HUGS* You are totally allowedto mourn. I have cried at all of Maddie's stages so far and she just turne 7. I can imagine the mess I will be when she turns 12. It is bittersweet right?

Erika said...

You could feel a little better about it if she were homely and not as easy on the eyes. However, I think Ryan should adopt a really mean look and carry a weapon. Take good notes for me!

G and G Nut said...

Yes, Mom, you are absolutely allowed!
xoxoxo

Elizabeth said...

This is beautiful post about just how great a Mum you are. I mourn all the ages and stages of my kids lives so I totally understand this post.There is just so much that goes on in tween girls lives... as mums we really have to try and stay connected as best we can.

Adrienne said...

Emma is going to be such a mature young woman, Jessica. Don't worry. I won't introduce her to movies before she's ready (sorry about that issue we had) and I'll try to be a better role model for her.

Melissa said...

I can SO relate. My oldest turned 12 on Sunday... dressed in a new suit, new shoes, new confidence, new priesthood holder-- too much for a mom to bear! :)

I'm jealous of Emma's first temple experience. Michael will have the chance to go to the Washington DC temple in a few weeks, and my husband will go with... but I envy you and so much family there for that experience.

Abbie said...

How? How are you 12, Emma? I remember you singing primary songs in your car seat.

Emma, happy birthday! Be good. The years coming up are fun and exciting and can be crazy. Do things that make your parents happy and you will find happiness. Love you!

Love, Abbie

Brooke said...

I'm kinda feeling sad today about Abbie turning 5. I can't imagine 12.

Erin said...

I want to die laughing and cry big sad momma tears for you about the YW coming over. I can, honestly, imagine feeling EXACTLY the same way.

Paige said...

Celia will make you feel better about this. She says having a girl teenager is hard but also easy because all their crazy, emotional stuff is SO familiar! I mean we are barely out of teenagerhood ourselves (in our dreams) so in the times when it is hard will at least be recognizable. Emma is a gorgeous gift- and I like the idea about Ryan carrying a weapon just in case.

Adrianne said...

AT first I was shocked and sad when I read this. I can't believe emma is 12 already! But then I read Paige's post and remembered how excited I am for the day when Lucia will be more my friend, and we can do more activities together. But don't get me wrong, I'm not ready to give up the her sitting on my lap and calling mama mama all day long just yet. Emma truly is a beautiful girl inside and out!

Brown Sugar said...

serious tears while reading this, I need to go make sure that there is still an 8mo old napping in her crib and not a 12 year old.

Emma is beautiful and even in her pictures you can tell what a sweet girl she is.

Tammy said...

Emma is going to be a rockin, sweet, smart, plugged in teen, I can just tell. You are lucky, but so is she....and I am sure all the adventures ahead will be a testament to your bond, your parenting and your devotion. Life flies by, doesn't it? I'm just hoping I get to have a baby before Emma does, at this rate....who knows?! :) kidding of course