It’s been a while since I sat down to write.
It’s been a while since I put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and created something meaningful.
It’s been a while since I allowed myself to explore my thoughts and emotions in a way that allows me to collect them, understand them, and send them out into the world, to share with anyone who cares to read.
Today is the day.
I haven’t written about Little Miss in a while, which is strange because this is a parenting blog: Being her Mom is kinda’ what it’s about. This lapse is partially because—let’s face it—life gets in the way, but also because LM is now 14. You know what they say about 14 year old girls? They are 14 YEAR OLD GIRLS: Complicated, unpredictable, independent, child-like, mature, at times distant, opinionated, sweet, moody, and, as if that isn’t enough, they are also a seething mass of hormones and emotions and ideas and insecurities and talents and social challenges, all of which are messily wrapped-up in a body that no longer belongs to a child, but is still not that of a woman. And, oh yeah, they are intensely PRIVATE.
All of this makes it a challenge to write about them, in PUBLIC.
But write I shall, because, honestly, it usually ends up being more about me than her anyway.
So here’s the thing about my girl: She is lovely.
She is an A student. She is a talented singer/musician/song-writer. She dances. She rides horses. She makes her bed.
But all of this is what she does, not who she is.
So who is she? It’s an interesting question for a parent to ask themselves regarding their children. So often we focus on the stuff they do—school, activities, accomplishments—that we miss what is really important. What they do is not the crux of their identity at all.
I ask myself again, ‘Who is Little Miss Know It All?’ , this 14 year old girl I know and love and spend time with everyday. This is what I think:
LM is, first and foremost, kind-hearted and sensitive. She does not have a mean bone in her body. She supports her family and her friends through the good times and the bad. She loves her cats. She is hard-working, with an intensity that surpasses her years. She is strong. She is 100% committed to her value set, even when wavering might appear to serve her better. She is honest. She is cerebral, an analyzer of life and of people and of the world around her. She giggles. She cannot stand to disappoint, herself nor those whom she cares about. She has a spark, a special light toward which people are drawn. She is an old soul.
(I know, this last one sounds a little New-Age/Airy-Fairy, but I have been told this many times over the years since she was just an infant, and there are days when I inexplicably know it’s true.)
Without question, the teen-aged years are tough, full of rebellion and challenges and difficult decisions and mistakes. She is on the precipice of this time, and thoughts of the potential land mines that lay in wait over the next few years scare me. She will be faced with what I call the Four D’s: Driving, Dating, Drinking, Drugs. Friendships will wax and wane, social situations will become increasingly difficult to navigate, and the pressures of conflicting and increased expectations from parents and peer groups may seem overwhelming. At 14, we have just begun to tip some of these ice bergs, but I am not naive. Some of her friends have toppled all the way over, and are treading icy waters on their way back to shore. She is not perfect, nor should she be. I know there will be hard times. I know she will stumble on her way. This is what teenagers do on their way to becoming adults.
What I want most is to keep her innocent, un-jaded and free of the scars that life’s challenges leave behind.
I know I cannot.
I console myself with this: I am proud of who she is, and who she chooses to be every day. I am happy to look into her big, brown, thoughtful eyes, to see the girl she is today, the woman she will become, and the soul inside that has lived a thousand lives.
Yes, she is lovely.