My Little Girl is turning into a Mini Teenager. To prove it, yesterday she had a bout of existential anguish. She pined over lost time with Raggedy Ann, who was lovingly made and given to her by Abuela (my mother, a fine artisan from The Island).

Raggedy Ann made by Abuela

Raggedy Ann and the Mini Teenager enjoyed happy days at the park.

How would she ever recover lost time with Raggedy Ann (waahh), she who has been with her for two years (sniff), through two big moves, bouncing from box to closet and closet to box to finally have some attention from her busy little owner?  Raggedy Ann with the delicately embroidered face and a little red heart on her chest that says “I love you.”  Surely she realized that the doll used to be as big as she was two years ago, and now the doll is getting “smaller.” She also realized (and she said so) she wouldn’t want her friends to laugh at her if she took Raggedy Ann to third grade (she used to carry Raggedy Ann to the park and send her flying down the slides). Here’s a self-aware child who realizes she’s growing up.

She said through tears that she couldn’t spend more time with Raggedy Ann because she was “working,” and she said it just like a mother bemoans time lost with her growing child. I know she meant schoolwork and other activities, but, for a moment, I wasn’t sure if this was or wasn’t  a trick-dream my guilty subconscious was playing on me. Maybe the message is that she wants ME to spend more time with HER. Whatever the trigger, or the psychology behind it, this was definitively my emerging Mini Teenager crying over happy days that will never return.

I tried to explain the concept of living in the present moment.  Raggedy Ann surely loves and appreciates her and will be happy for the gift of her friendship any time. “Your friends love you and are happy to play with you whenever you’re ready,” I said, thinking about my own good friends who have been there for me since grade school, and still “play” with me. None of them look like Raggedy Ann, they are much more beautiful and strong (and they read this). I tried to teach her the phrase “Today is the first day of the rest of my life,” hoping she’d remember it someday, even if it wasn’t completely clear now. I’m sure she’ll use it against me whenever I try to remind her about something disagreeable she did the day before. She’s too smart.

She finally gave Raggedy Ann a hug and a kiss, collected herself and settled down to read a book, probably to distract herself from the bittersweetness of growing up. Later, I thought maybe she was remembering that part in the movie Toy Story 3  when Andy has to part with his toys one last time when he goes to college. I also thought maybe she had too much (or not enough) drama at her after-school theatre class and was rehearsing with me. (She sure has a way of making anyone buy into her drama and tug at anyone’s heartstrings.) At a deeper level, I hope she always stays in touch with her feelings, and always feels this comfortable sharing her feelings with her mother. Or at least for a little while longer, before the real teenage years arrive.

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