Older Daughter is off to her first school dance tonight.
When we asked her the day before yesterday (when she asked to go) if any of the kids she knows are going, she said, "I dunno." When we asked how she felt about going if she wasn't going to know anyone, she said, "But this way I can meet new people." (Said with that "duh" look that pre-teenagers start mastering early in order to be ready for their teenage years.)
This is the child who, up until very recently, was, to put it mildly, extremely cautious of new activities and people. Who preferred (and frankly, still does prefer many times) to read a book rather than to go out and meet new people. The stories I could tell... Of course, I don't say this in front of her. I don't ask her, "Where's my older daughter and what have you done with her?!" It seems to me that people should be allowed to be who they are, rather than who they were (or who we tell ourselves they were). And she's doing a magnificent job of being who she is right now. And really, I'm having a wonderful time seeing who it is that she's turning out to be; watching her self unfold over the years is a constant source of joy and wonder (and yes, there have been those moments of tension and outright terror, but mostly those other things). If she didn't become new things, if she only turned out to be what I thought she'd be, would I be doing my job as well as I could? Maybe, maybe not. All I can say for sure is that I really enjoy the opportunity to sit back from time to time and watch.
She just headed out, ready to go off and try this new thing. She was still nervous enough to bring a book in the car to read, "So I can calm down." And she's meeting a friend there. But she's going. And she's looking forward to it. Dang girl, I'm proud.