My daughter went back to school today. She is ten years old, in the fifth grade. It's her first year in the intermediate school. I watched her out the window as she waited for the bus. She was nervous and excited all at the same time. She had a new outfit that included a shirt with a bunny on it, a new backpack, because her old one with orange sharks was for little kids, and her hair in a braid down her back. There was my little girl. The little girl who still thinks she can sit on my lap for a hug. The little girl who still covets stuffed animals and plays with dolls. The little girl who pretends she is a sea otter when she is in the pool. There was my little girl.
There was a big girl too. One I didn't quite know. There was a girl who picked out shirts for school based on how pretty they were rather than whether they looked like something her older brother would wear. There was the girl who has a crush on a boy we know and giggles about it with her best friend. There was a girl who worries about whether her glasses make her ugly and whether she is fat. (That breaks my heart. Why does society do that to girls?) There was a girl who has suddenly decided shoe shopping is interesting. There was a girl who is changing so fast I sometimes feel like I can't keep up with her.
The bus came and she climbed on, that mix of little girl and big girl. I waved from the window. I was waving goodbye and waving hello.