Tonight is the last night my baby girl will be 4. By tomorrow, technically at 4:44 p.m., she will turn 5.
As a mother, I struggle with her getting older. Some days, I can’t wait to, say have a beer with my daughter. Other days, I miss how her tiny baby hands would curl around my finger.
I can’t decide if I want her to stay tiny forever or get older. One major fear I often think over is her teenage years. If there is any truth to “bad karma,” I’m probably due for some rough years in there somewhere.
As hormones start to influence her decisions, tone of voice and attitude toward her mother, we could have some issues. We are a lot alike, to be honest. I know when we butt heads it is because I’ve produced a daughter that is as stubborn, independent and bossy as her mother. I’m mostly proud of that. I’m less proud when she turns that all on me.
I fear those teen years. I’m not sure how we’ll fare. I have three sisters, and amongst the four of us, I’d say there were completely different experiences for my mom with each and every one.
Teen years, for all four of us, included door slamming, screaming, sneaking out, getting arrested, moving out, the “I’m-not-talking-to-you” phases … it goes on and on. With four girls, my mom has some real horror stories, and nope, I’m not going to tell you which girl did which of those terrible things. I’d mostly blame hormones.
So, what will my daughter’s teen years look like? Let’s just say karma might be holding some real scary years ahead for me.
For now, we argue about her not eating. She is super picky. She likes to pick out her own clothes. She’s a lot more “girly” than her mom. For now, these are pretty minor fights.
We argue about her whining. I make her repeat things in a calm tone before she’s allowed to get anything she’s asking for, even if she says “please” in there.
These are all little things. I’m not sure what I’ll do when we are arguing about her drinking at a party or breaking her curfew. What happens when she sneaks out the first time (can we get alarms installed on windows?) or doesn’t call me from college?
I know I should live in the moment, right? I shouldn’t fret about something a good decade away, but I do. It’s my nature.
For now, I’ll snap my usual “last night of being 4” photo after she falls asleep. She doesn’t know I do that. Maybe someday, I’ll show them all to her.
There’s a funny Facebook post out there. It shows how girls often feel about their mothers at different stages of life.
It states that around age 6, girls say “Mommy, I love you.” By 16, it is “Mom is annoying.” By 18, “I want to leave this house” is the sentiment. By 25, you know “Mom was right.,” while by 30 she’ll say “I want to see my Mom.” By, 50 you think “I don’t want to lose my Mom.” By 70, you know “I’d give anything to be with my Mom.”
So, maybe I’ll have some rough teen years. I just will have to hope I raised my baby girl to be strong enough to know by age 25 or so why I did what I did.
For now, I’ll watch my little angel fall asleep for her last night of being 4. I hope, with every picture I take, with every year that goes by, I hold on to that sight forever. I always want to remember her, just the way she is: Perfect.