January 8, 2017. This is eleven. I talked about her turning this age, but today, I repeat what I’ve said here before – I will never quite be able to embrace time’s passage. Eleven is inching toward grit and grace, the tween and teen years, the becoming of who my daughter will be as an adult. But for now, I only focus on who she is today.

Eleven means closing doors. There are thoughts and tears and emotions I am not privy to anymore. She’s trying to figure them out on her own.

Eleven is long limbs, light brown hair that glimmers in the sunlight and now, and checking in the mirror to see if her outfit looks put together.

Eleven means carrying her own light brown purse, zipping around the house, collecting Kleenex, lip gloss and bandaids. When I ask her, “Why these things?” She says, “I might need it, Momma.”

Eleven is saying mom and dad in public. Always Momma and Daddy in our home though.

Eleven is expressive and defiant. “You don’t understand, Mom,” “I hate this,” or “Whatever.”

Eleven is empathetic. “Momma, are you ok?” Especially when she sees me napping or when I have a headache.

Eleven is tennis. Backhands, forehands and cross-court shots. It means winning games and matches, but learning how to lose too.

Eleven is everything baking especially from the Bouchon Bakery book. Brownies, cookies, cake pops, biscuits, pecan pie and cornbread – always from scratch.

Eleven is still filled with horseplay with her father, cuddles with me and silliness with her grandmother.

Eleven means FaceTime with her aunt, Musically with her friends and liking pictures on my Instagram.

Eleven is eager to please. Affirmation is important,whether you are and adult or a child.

Eleven is vacillating between acting like an “adult,” but still reverting to what she loves in childhood. Cuddly blankets, My Little Pony and crawling into bed with us in the middle of the night.

Eleven is a precipice of new beginnings, discoveries and storing memories.

Eleven is here. And I will savor every moment, my dear little-big girl.