Last week my eldest daughter turned into an actual teenager as she celebrated her thirteenth birthday. One thing that I have noticed over the last few years is that as she has got older organising a birthday celebration has got so much harder. When she was younger I use to get so excited for her birthdays as it was magical seeing her face light up when she seen her gifts and watching the joy on her face as she enjoyed her party. I still get excited now and still love watching her face light up, but she does not get as excited now she is older.
When she was younger planning a birthday was easy as I just rang up the local soft play booked a party and then turned up on the day with a cake. Soft play is a fail safe child's birthday venue in my eyes as it is so stress free, no worrying about making food, entertainment or mess as everything is taken care of. I was able to just sit and relax with a coffee with the other mums while the children ran around burning off energy, and I happily handed over £10 per child for the pleasure.
Fast forward a few years to the tween and teenage years and a soft play party really is not an option any more, so what do you do? The idea of a sleepover fills me with dread, plus is not possible having a baby who still does not sleep all night (who knew sleepless nights would come in handy one day). I struggled thinking what to do I suggested lots of things such as getting her nails painted with a few friends, going to the cinema with friends (apparently nothing was on), going bowling, everything I suggested was met with a no.
In the end she settled on a trip to Kaspas dessert restaurant with her best friend a few days before her birthday, on her actual birthday a meal at her favourite Indian restaurant with family. Followed a few days later with a birthday trip to Frankie and Benny's with a group of friends that I was not invited too, she went on her own with her friends (I dropped her off and picked her up) she paid for the meal herself, well with my money. She then went shopping on her own with her friends to spend some of her birthday money on make-up brushes and Costa hot chocolates.
I felt sad, I thought back to all those birthdays when I was there to watch her face light up as she blew out her candles. I missed seeing her excited when each of her friends turned up to her party, I missed taking photos, I missed seeing her blow out the candles on her birthday cake and I missed are annual shopping trip into Newcastle that we use to go on every half term to spend her birthday money in Fenwicks toy department.
I realised that my baby girl who I remember blowing out the number one candle on her Winnie the pooh birthday cake all them years ago is grown up. She is now a teenager who had a make-up bag style cake. She no longer needs me like she use to, yes she still needs a mum to look out for her but she is all grown up now and is gaining Independence. She would rather be with her friends then her mum, even on her special days.
Turning thirteen has made me realise that I only have a few short years with her until she is fully grown and ready to fly the nest and make her own way in the world. In five years time she could be off to university living miles from home, in four years time she will be learning to drive and in three years time she will be getting ready to leave school and deciding who she wants to be in life.
I understand that it is all part of grown up and it happens to everyone, I know over the next few years I will have to let her figure out who she is, let her make her own mistakes and gain some interdependence. I love watching her grow and seeing what a beautiful young girl she is inside and out, catching a glimpse of what she shall be like as an adult.
But I am not ready for her to grow up yet, she is still my baby girl and the years seem to have flown by oh so fast. Now the little girl who I watched take her first wobbly steps, who held my hand to cross roads and who I tucked into bed each night is no longer a little girl but a teenage girl with her own mind and who is almost the height of me. Now she is a teenager I miss those soft play party's and watching her play with her friends. I remember every second of her childhood and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of young adult she becomes.
Teenage years I am ready for you, but time please stop going so fast as I want to enjoy these years with my children for just a while longer before they fly the nest.