When I woke up this morning, she was nine. (Okay, technically not yet, because she was born in the evening, as we jokingly reminded her at bedtime, but still.)
She is nine. NINE.
Her last one-digit birthday.
Halfway to eighteen. How did that happen?
When did she go from wearing clothes that fit on toddler hangers to outfits that need grown-up ones?
When did her feet grow so much that we can almost wear each other's shoes and I sometimes borrow her socks?
I've been told that my little girl is now a "tween" - not a little girl, but not a teenager either. I believe it because we are shopping for clothes in the girls area of Walmart now instead of the little girl area, and she rides her bike like a champ, and she is starting to care more about the opinions of her friends and privacy and her dreams for the future and things like that. Ever so often, I catch a glimpse of the young woman she may be someday, and it is beautiful
But she is also still has a lot of little in her, this sweet country girl who dotes on her little brother and still loves to snuggle with her mama. Who can go from a pout to a joyful laugh in five seconds flat. Who has a love-hate relationship with her curly blond hair. Who loves sunsets and animals and dancing in the rain.
Bridges, of course, are important. They connect two places together that otherwise would be kept apart. They lead you from one area, perhaps a familiar place, to another - perhaps someplace new.
Because the CC program is so good, I'm actually not that concerned about this overall. It's a good mental activity for me to review our methods, but she will be okay with what we have been doing and what the next few years will hold. But as I examine this from an educational viewpoint, I'm also thinking about it spiritually. Just as we want our daughter prepared mentally for her next stage of learning, we want her prepared spiritually. In fact, that is much more important in many ways. So in these grammar years, am I helping her to store up Biblical facts, Bible verses, and basic theology in a way that will support her in this next stage? For the years when she is asking the questions that will help her grow in her spiritual understanding, and in her ability to connect what she knows to be true from the Bible with the life she lives everyday?
So those are some things we are going to double down on in the next several months and into her final three Grammar years. I've been trying out different Bible curricula, and keep coming back to my favorite, Grapevine Bible studies. We will also pull out the Awana book that has been unused for the last couple of months, since our schedule changed to exclude those weekly meetings, and start using it to help guide our Bible memory work, as well as focusing again on learning her American Heritage Girls troop's verse. And I will go back to using the CC Bible memory tool that they offer for free on their website to cover some basic information about the Bible, as well as Bible Road Trip, written by my friend Danika.
But even more, I will be praying for my daughter, and watching. Watching for opportunities to speak truth into her life, for chances to build and strengthen our relationship as mother and daughter so it will be strong enough to weather the storms of adolescence down the road. And sometimes, standing aside and watching as my daughter tests that bridge in these tween years, spanning the chasm between little girl and young lady, and trusting God to lead both of us into this new territory.