Holding Her Back…Just a Little

By Candace Derickx

my baby

Ahhh, my oldest daughter. She is me. I am her. It is for this reason of course that we butt heads frequently. After all, we are both always right.

So you understand of course that “No” is not a word that my daughter has ever accepted without question — ever. Which is really just karma giving me a good old kick in the head for being exactly this way with my mother. Bitch. (Karma, not my mother)

I tell you all this because last Friday I handed down a no. A no so unjust, so monumentally unfair, that I was given the worst mother ever designation, yet again.

She asked to go to our local community dance.

She’s asked before and the answer has always been no, but because it conflicts with cheerleading practice I wasn’t getting much kick back on it. This Friday however, hell froze over and cheerleading was canceled due to bad weather and the dance was not. It was the perfect storm.

It started with a friend of hers telling her to come and that the dance was perfectly safe and prodding “Why won’t your mom let you go anyway?”

“But Moooom, so-and-so is going, and she says it’s safe.”

Cue the standard retort.

“I don’t care what other moms are letting their kids do”.

And I don’t. If other parents want to send their kids to this dance, that’s great. I’m not here to question why. The bottom line is that my instinct tells me it’s not right for my daughter yet. And very often all we have is our instinct to guide us.

But then the tears started. The big ugly cry with the gasps for air and the runny nose. The cry that makes a mother start to question her instinct. So I sat and I thought hard about why I didn’t want her at this dance.

She’s 10.
I think attending dances are milestones in life.
That everything in life doesn’t have to happen before you’re 12.
That I’ve heard negative comments about this dance from others.
That I didn’t think 10 year olds and 14 year olds should be at the same dance together.
That I didn’t want her at a dance with 300 kids.

And I gave her all these reasons and in the end my resolve was strong. And she hated me.

But here’s the one reason I kept to myself. I don’t want to push her over the edge. And by edge, I mean the edge of childhood.

Enter her room and it’s a strange mix of dolls, boy band posters, stuffed animals and make-up. She is dabbling on either side now.

And I know I can’t keep her on this side of childhood forever. But this time is so short, it is so fleeting, that I’m not going to help rush it along either. For it’s only a matter of time before the dolls get packed away and boy posters get replaced by boys, that stuffies become childish and makeup gets worn out of the house……to a dance.

And when that happens I’ll be along for the ride to help her maneuver through the most challenging times of a girls life. But not just yet. Not while we still have a little bit of childhood to cling on to.

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  1. says

    I don’t think you’re holding her back, especially since you’ve heard negative comments about the dance. Besides, she’s got a whole lifetime of dances ahead of her ;D

  2. says

    I say hold her as long as you can right there on the cusp of little girl and tweendom. My oldest is 12 and like you and your oldest, we are the same. Same looks, mannerisms, thoughts, actions, beliefs, sense of humor. She is a little me. Me reincarnated. I was so sweet at 12. She is sweet too, except when she’s not. There is a boy now. A boy she has NEVER mentioned before (“Do you think I only talk to girls at school?”) who wanted to give her a Valentine’s Day gift. Um, ok…what kind of gift? “Can we get something for him in return?” He can have a cupcake like everyone else in your class is getting but first let’s find out what he’s getting you. A handmade card? A cheap or handmade necklace, friendship bracelet, what? “He bought me tennis shoes.” getthefuckouttahere I actually did get “get the” out before I stopped myself. WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG? How could she possibly think this would be an acceptable gift? Did his parents buy them? Did he steal them? Did someone steal them for him? I can’t and won’t believe his parents bought shoes for a girl in his class and I won’t back down on the inability to accept them. Since when did such gifts even become a consideration in 7th grade? So, I am officially an unlistening, unfeeling mother who NEVER lets her do anything fun or cool. (All the while Run DMC’s You Be Illin’ is playing in my head.)

  3. says

    Keep hanging on. At 13, my son still has a foot on both sides. There is still a boy inside his manchild frame. Neither of us are ready to lose that.

  4. says

    I think you did the right thing. As I was reading I was wondering how old your daughter was. At first I was on the fence as to whether you should’ve let her go or not. Then I saw she was 10 and I said to myself ‘oh hell no’. So, you have my vote – you did the right thing. I have two daughters (15 and 11) and I couldn’t see letting my 11 year old go to a dance like that. Good job staying strong. She’ll forget about by next weekend anyway.

    • Candace says

      Thanks Kim, I wish I could find that manual they were handing out at the hospital. Me and my scattered brain losing something so important. 🙂 Mothering is hard.


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