I dropped off my 12-year-old, my baby, to her first day of junior high this week. We were all giggles and smiles and high-fives on the ride over, scarfing down blueberry Pop Tarts, snapping fingers to the music and posing for “look how cute I am on the first day of seventh grade” selfies. But when I eased the car into the junior high drop off line and shifted into park, everything… changed. There I was on the school sidewalk, handing my daughter, my baby, her backpack and her lunch bag and leaning into her chocolate moon pie face to kiss her cheek, and there she was, looking around nervously for her friends and her teachers and at the big brick building that she’ll spend most of her school days for at least the next two years. In those moments, we both took stock of this one true thing: my baby is no longer a baby.

That’s a realization that’s been seeping slowly into our consciousness over this, my Lila’s last year of tweendom: though she’s still wont to sit all up under me and fall asleep in my cuddles, she plots out most things—friendships, playdates, her own sense of style, cute natural hairstyles and opinions—all on her own now. And as she grows, our relationship eases into the new. With each tentative step, I ask for promises: Promise me you won’t be an onery, sullen teenager. Promise me you’ll trust me with your secrets. Promise me you’ll stay sweet and kind and goofy and funny. Promise me you’ll always remember that no matter what, I’m going to love you until the dolphins fly and parrots swim the sea.

It is this that I was considering when I was asked to watch the video for “Promise,” a new song by Tori Amos and her 13-year-old daughter, Natashya Hawley. It’s a beautiful piece in which both mother and daughter promise one another to always keep respect, confidence, truth, support and fierce love at the center of their mother/daughter relationship—something that my daughters and I work on daily. 

It was a no-brainer, then, for Lila and I to agree to put our own spin on Tori’s “Promise,” particularly as we both consider our morphing relationship. Plus, Lila—a.k.a. Totally Lila—and I are total hams who pretty much don’t need an excuse to cut up for the camera, so there’s that. In fact, Lila has an awesome app on her iPod that she and I use regularly to lip synch to and film videos to our favorite music. We’re super proud of our “Promise” effort here. (Even if Nick thinks we’re trying too hard and laughs at us every time he watches it! Hater.)

Anyway, press play and check out the video Totally Lila and I made with one another; watch it all the way through to the end to see the promises she and I made to one another—and perhaps think of a few promises of your own for your babies.

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Tori Amos’ “Promise” is from her current album, Unrepentant Geraldines. It’s available on iTunesAmazon, Amazon Deluxe and Google Play.

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This post is sponsored by One2One Network, but all the thoughts and words came straight from both my and Lila’s hearts. The lip-synching, too. That’s all us.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I absolutely LOVED the video. And my girls loved Lila. You are both wonderful and oh boy, being a mom is tough … especially the letting go part. HUGS.

  2. thejennyonthespot

    So very sweet, and lovely – AND FUN. Your fun hearts shine in this video too 🙂

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