Little Chicks Growing up

I’m knee deep in chicks these days – broilers and layers a week apart. I find myself comparing how differently they grow. The broilers will be fully grown and in the freezer two months from now, averaging 5 lbs. In two months the layers will be looking like teenagers – gangly, wings that don’t work yet, etc. In another two months after that, probably in October, they will be adults, laying their first eggs. I’ve seen all this in chicks many times, and while I marvel at the rate of change, it no longer catches me by surprise.

Last night our younger daughter got ready for her grade 8 farewell dinner/dance. She normally appears in black jeans, a baggy hoody and scuffed running shoes, using her thick long hair to hide as much face as possible. So last night came as a shock – she looked casual yet elegant in a summer dress of black with a floral pattern, with flats to match. The hair was brushed smooth and thrown back out of her face. She looked faintly embarrassed to be not her usual self, but defiantly proud at the same time.  When I dropped her off at the school, I suddenly ached to hop out too, to go hang at the gym door and watch all these fledglings test their newly feathered wings.  I had not fully stopped the car, when the door was thrown open, and “omygoshthereshilarygottagoloveyou” came back on the breeze left swirling as she jumped out and raced to catch up to a tall vision of beauty (THAT was Hilary? Who I saw last week in flip flops and sweats?)  And they were gone.

I’m comforted, a little. Today she’s in her black jeans again. The dress is probably in a puddle on the floor upstairs (I haven’t looked, why spoil the day before it’s even started). The braces on her teeth remind me that she’s still my little girl for a while longer.

Random photographer writes her final French Immersion exam today. She has arranged an appointment with a counsellor regarding her options after she graduates next year. She’s doing this stuff without me.  Beauty radiates out of her generous soul.  She has developed grace since her grade 8 farewell days.  She is so self sufficient.  I trust her judgement in so many things, respect her wisdom.  Yet she’s still my little girl too.

We have been working all these years to help them grow up, so why am I not ready for this?

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