The 8th Summer

This is the best day of my life.

She squealed these words as Janelle, our hairdresser, took a razor blade to her long locks.  Well, they actually weren't that long.  But for the girl whose worn a bob since the day her hair could be coiffured, nearly shoulder length hair that had been ponytailed and braided all summer was long. 

She'd been asking for a while if she could cut off her hair.  In a pixie cut.  Well, initially it was shave one side and die the other blue.  When we told her college, she started in on the pixie cut.  The deal was struck that she could do it when she was 13.

And here we were, weeks before third grade and turning nine.  The end of her eighth summer. Cutting off all of her hair.

I didn't know it was possible for a person to change in front of your eyes.  Not the hair cutting.  But her.  Everything about her changed.  Perhaps it was the death of her grandmother at the beginning of the summer.  Perhaps she was changing before then but now, without the distraction of illness and work and life, we can really see her becoming.  Maybe it all happened overnight and I went to bed with a little kid and woke up with a tween.  But somewhere between June and August, she settled into her a skin.

Despite her propensity for the dramatic, she's not super confident.  She loves to create and sketch and build.  She likes math and science and wants to learn.  Yet all of a sudden, she’s accepting herself in a way that is beautifully fantastic. I wasn’t prepared just yet to tell her to go put on a shirt, that she can’t lay on the sofa in panties and a sports bra reading a graphic novel because her father would have a heart attack. But here we are.

All summer I've seen memes and blogs and pictures on social media that remind Moms you only have eighteen summers with your little ones, make them count

Sometimes, the summers count you.