Monday, February 07, 2011

On Becoming a Young Lady . . .

Oh, my almost 11 year old daughter has been doing that for a while now - she has become long and lean (like a bean! we say), and we've started buying certain "undergarments." She's began styling her own hair more, wearing lip gloss (that is all we allow for makeup at this point) and using glittery, scented bath gel and lotions.

However, this weekend allowed me that rare opportunity to see my daughter look and act more like a young lady than any other, and it was nothing more than the simple task of selling Girl Scout cookies.

She wants to try for the first recognition level of "Walkabout," which involves a serious amount of selling door to door. We set out yesterday; she donned her Cadette sash and a small, purple, Girl Scout, money-collection apron, and with her long (oh, she so needs a trim) blonde hair swaying as she walked, she set out.

She confidently approached the first door, her cookie bag in hand (easier than dragging the giant wagon up to the door), and rang the bell. When the occupant opened the door, she delivered her line: "Would you like to buy some girl scout cookies?" and when the occupant asked what flavors were available, Kaya patiently pulled the cookie boxes from her bag, one at a time, explained the cookie flavors, and offered options if they could not decide. Then, when they paid her, she made change for them, pocketed the profits so as not to drop the money, thanked them, and turned to me with a huge smile of success. She had to sell 25 boxes that one day to reach that level, and she did it.

I do not approach the door -- I stay back on the sidewalk, standing guard over the wagon o' cookies and watch my daughter work. From behind I almost don't recognize her, this tall, blonde, confident young woman selling cookies to learn about running her own business. Her optimism in the face of adversity (one day we hit 8 houses on a quick spree, and not a single person bought cookies), her confidence in conversing with adults, and her ability to handle the money show that my baby girl is no longer a baby but growing into a strong young woman.

Sometimes I will catch sight of her when she is not looking at me, and she has a small smile on her face as she concentrates on a project, unconsciously flipping her hair out of the way, and she has this ethereal beauty and contentment that I never had and have never seen before. She is growing so fast, yet she is ready and conquering this phase of life, embracing changes and new experiences, and although she still is, to me, my thoughtful, artistic, unique baby, when I see her in those moments, I glimpse the woman she will become, and my breath catches and my heart breaks, both for what is gone, and for all the wonders of life that lie ahead for her.