That's what she wanted for her birthday, she said. Black lipstick, black nail-polish, a lace and velvet dress -- in black, of course.
Oh, and could she please have her nose and tongue pierced?
Last year she wanted games and a netball. She still played games then, rather than hanging around the mall trying to look pale and interesting and on the edge of death. She listened to dire boy-bands, not Marilyn Manson. She laughed, and ran. She was a child.
It's not that I want her to stop growing up, not really. It doesn't make me feel particularly old or anything, and growing up is an adventure.
It's that I'd like her to enjoy herself while she's doing it. Take her time, go step by step, and savour each new experience. Not run headlong into new things, everything at once. Not become cynical and world-weary at thirteen. I want her to have fun, and somehow it doesn't look like she is.
And I don't have anything against goths -- I just didn't want 'my little girl' to be one.
And I worry. Constantly. There seems to be so much out there, in the world she is discovering, to threaten her. So many risks, so much potential harm she can come to. So very many hurts that I can't prevent, however much I want to. All I can do is try to fix things when they go wrong.
Who'd be a mother?