My eldest child turns 12 today.
As in, TWELVE.
This is clearly not a surprise…it’s been coming for, well, 12 years. But still. Wow.
12 sounds a lot older than 11 doesn’t it? And don’t even get me started on 13. I don’t know if I can let her do that.
The biggest change in having a twelve-year-old (!) child is that she is legally allowed to sit in the front seat of the car. Right there. Right NEXT TO ME.
I admit, I let her start sitting up there a couple of weeks ago – I am dangerous that way.
But, for TWELVE years (are you sensing that I am having a hard time with this?) I have looked in the rear view mirror of my car to see her little face. Back there. Behind me.
I have reached backward to hand her snacks, and tissues, and rub her feet.
She has kicked the back of my seat countless times. Thrown things from the back to the front. Demanded foot rubs.
But now…I look back there and SHE’S GONE!
Because she’s now right next to me.
And while she is not (yet) demanding foot rubs, she is touching everything…EVERYTHING. Grabbiest co-pilot ever.
She has reset the trip odometer, adjusted the radio, turned on the hazard lights, thoroughly inventoried the glove compartment, tested my hand cream and lip gloss, organized the various chargers, messed around with the heating and ventilation. You name a button in on the dashboard and she has either pushed it or asked what it is for.
Much of this is cute and adorable. But I am REALLY used to sitting up there by myself. Queen of the front seat. With my subjects IN THE BACK. Away from the buttons.
And I might be a tiny bit control freaky about the heat. And the radio. And the lip gloss.
Just a tiny bit.
I read a recent guideline update that said that I should make her stay in the back until she’s 13. And I thought about it. It’s tempting to reclaim my domain for another year.
But it’s probably better to let her take this tiny step toward teen-hood now. Especially since her brother will probably be 6 feet tall by the time he’s 12, and won’t fit in the back. And then there will be debates about fairness…and I don’t need that.
Besides, I am still not sure I am going to let her turn 13 anyway. I have a year to think about it.
Happy Birthday, Sprout. You are the best! I love you so much, I’ll even share my lip gloss with you.