On Chloe’s 11th birthday, the doorbell rang 10 minutes before the bus arrived. No one ever comes to the house this early (they know what’s best for them) and it was an unannounced visit, so I knew something was up. I started to answer the door and then I saw him. A boy. On my porch.
But not just any boy. His name is Spencer – a sweet, kind and adorable boy who Chloe has been friends with all her years of elementary school and he lives across the street. Rumor has it around school that she is his “girlfriend.”
Yeah. So there’s that.
He was holding flowers. Standing on my porch. Holding…flowers. He was dressed up super cute. Did I mention, he was holding flowers?!
After the sinking feeling in my stomach passed, I remembered who I was (and that I was still in my pajama’s) so I told Chloe that the door was for her. I scurried out of view and listened as much as I could from the other room, but I couldn’t hear anything over Cammie’s giggling. She, too had seen what was on our porch this sunny August morning and she couldn’t contain her sisterly giddy excitement.
It was a brief encounter, but when Chloe closed the door and walked back to the kitchen, she was beaming. Spencer had brought her flowers. But not just any flowers – her favorite color flowers and the first that she’s ever received from a boy. She was surprised and embarrassed. I was elated and horrified. Not because of the flowers (they made her smile) or the boy (he’s a good kid.) All of this I knew was coming or would be coming… eventually. The part that shocked me was my grief after she came back in the room. The look on her face was something I am sure I’ve never seen on her face before.
She’s growing up.
After the party decor had been taken down and the dead flowers pressed between her favorite book pages, I realized what that sinking feeling in my stomach was when I saw a boy on my porch for the first time holding flowers for my first born. Her name means blossoming meadow. Chloe – blossoming, Ashlyn – meadow. I remember sitting on the floor in her nursery before we had gotten furniture, praying for the baby girl that would occupy that room. Praying for her future and that God would guard her heart throughout her life. I spent hours in that vacant nursery praying and journaling during my pregnancy. In the beginning, I didn’t know if she was a girl or a boy, but I couldn’t stop calling her “Chloe” because I just knew she was a girl. I felt connected to her from the second I saw my positive pregnancy test and now, here we are. 11 years passed without so much as a blink and here she is having crazy emotions, wearing bras, texting, and getting flowers from boys.
Time passes without asking me if I’m ready or not. Life is overwhelming in that regard. It just steamrolls right on over us even if we are staying still, trying desperately in vain to be in the moment. There is no “one moment” to capture because there are a trillion tiny ones worth paying attention to, all along the way.
I know we have passed a certain time and place in childhood for good. My little girls are gone and I can’t go back. Just when I was getting used to who this Chloe girl was– feeling cozy in her personality and who she seemed to be – a little bit of her is gone before I have a chance to scrapbook or even Instagram it.
So, I readjust to this new tween and the attitude and issues that insist on coming along for the ride. Before my very eyes she is blossoming into a young lady, a woman, and a beautiful person whom I adore. She is and always will be my Chloe Ashlyn, my blossoming meadow…that is something that will never change.
And I know this is only the beginning of boys standing on porches waiting to see her beautiful face.