I am writing this and I still can't believe I'm writing this.
No, wait. Yes, I can, and that's what makes it even sadder.
My daughter and her friends were all abuzz yesterday when I came home from work. I was hoping they were all wildly misinformed, but Moms talk and other kids talk and I guess it's true.
One of my daughter's schoolmates is pregnant.
God, one of my eleven year-old daughter's schoolmates is pregnant. And keeping the baby.
I realize you work in mysterious ways, Lord. But couldn't this one have been a mystery to my daughter, her friends, and yes, this girl for just a few years longer?
I look at my beautiful daughter, who (frighteningly) started developing way too early, and I remember that I'm a single working mother who very soon will be leaving my teenage daughter alone for four hours after school every single weekday and I want to move us all to Antarctica.
Then I remember to breathe. The first words out of my daughter's mouth yesterday after she told me were "Don't worry Mom, you know I wouldn't be that stupid."
But it isn't always about stupid, I tell her. Sometimes it's about careless. And in her classmate's case, it's about setting your boundaries at a time in your life that they should be firmly entrenched. I tell her that it isn't just about the day-to-day care of a new little life (which will be exhausting enough on both her classmate and her classmate's family). It is that now, and forevermore, every single decision this girl makes will be influenced by her child.
Every. Single. Decision.
At a time in her life when she should be wildly crushing on some fellow sixth grader and wondering if she'll make the cheer squad next year, this girl will be doing an awful lot of growing up awfully quick.
And it won't be quick enough, Lord. I know it in my heart and it makes me heartsick for her, and for her mother, and for that baby. I don't even know them personally, but I feel for them. So much.
Worst of all, God, I look at my daughter through these newly world-weary eyes. She's not in her elementary school bubble anymore. She's a middle schooler with friends who have middle school lives and their problems and worries are escalating exponentially. I am reminded now that I can't always protect her from everything. I can just keep talking, keep reinforcing, keep letting her know I trust her to be the smart, thoughtful girl who tells me she wants to study medicine and mathematics so that she can work in genetic research and find a cure for her brother's autism. And I pray. Like I'm praying now.
Please God, watch out for her.
And for this other little girl, who's not so little anymore.