This week in August is always a big one for us…Naturalist and Golfer have birthdays a day apart, with Hubby and my anniversary a day apart from Golfer’s birthday. It gets crazy busy. I tried to schedule it a bit more spaced apart, but apparently Thanksgiving turkey makes me really fertile.

Naturalist turned 12 (!!!) today, with Golfer turning 9 on Tuesday. But this 12 birthday is freaking me out a little bit. Or, a lot. It’s just so strange to think that my first little baby is now this young lady who is taller than I am with a shoe that’s 2 sizes bigger. How did all this time go by?!

So I’m sitting here picking up after her birthday party (sleepover with 4 other 12 year olds…I need a nap), getting ready to redecorate for Golfer’s party, wired and thinking of how time sometimes leapfrogs forward before I ever get a chance to stop and really appreciate the moments until they’re gone.

Flipping through late night TV channels, I stumbled upon U2’s ‘Rattle and Hum’ movie, and it brought me back to 1988. I was 16 and loved 2 things more than any other: U2 and my boyfriend. I’d liked him ever since I was 14. We rented this movie and I remember watching the opening credits before moving on to making out.

Back then I couldn’t even think 2 minutes ahead, let alone 20 years. Not being very far removed from 12 myself, I don’t think I would have believed that I’d have a 12 year old daughter, or that I’d be *gasp* in my mid 30’s. If I could go back and give myself advice, I don’t think I would. Some things you just have to live through to understand.

Having a 12 year old calling me, ME!, ‘Mom’ is strange because I don’t feel much older than that 16 year old girl trying to set an Olympic record for number of kisses before my 12 am curfew. Sometimes when a conflict comes along (like during the sleepover, between a couple girls) and I’m expected to handle it, I look around for MY mom who is obviously better equipt to deal with stuff like that. But, no, turns out she wasn’t older than me when I was 12 and conflicted myself. And so the cycle goes ’round, and one day Naturalist will be facing her own future, wondering how she got there so soon.

In the meantime, I’m still the mom, the one she goes to with questions and problems, just like I did with my mom. I’m the one looking at this young lady, remembering when she used to strip naked, sit in my favorite cooking pot, and put a tupperware lid on her head. Remembering when she’d assert her independence at 4 when I’d ask her if she wanted to do something ‘the hard way'(I’d make her do it) or ‘the easy way’ (she could choose to do it), and having her always choose the hard way. Remembering her and I slipping into the bathtub together and giving ourselves foot baths to help counteract her stress at school.

I hear horrible stories about teenagers and their parents, and it stresses me out. I hope it’s not a given, because I am really enjoying our time together. She’s funny and wise, and persistent, with a little barbed humor thrown in. I don’t want to lose all that after 12 years just because she turns into a teenager. The book Reviving Ophelia gives me hope that just because she’s a preteen doesn’t mean all the negative stuff is a given, so I’ll hope for that.

Time, man. Time. It’s pretty trippy.


4 Responses

  1. Oof, this post hit home for me. First, the instant memory of where I was and who I was with when I saw Rattle and Hum (Montreal, 17, on a first date with a French boy I was crazy about *sigh*) and YES! I’m always looking around for The Real Parent… Isn’t she going to step in some time? I’m not really in charge am I? How’d that happen? And I’m with you… I sure hope teenagerhood doesn’t have to change everything

  2. Happy Birthdays and Anniversaries! We have the same thing at the beginning of the year – boy birthdays Jan 28 and Feb 14 and our anniversary Jan 26. Whew!

  3. Oh, happy birthdays!

    Yeah, I know what you mean about the mom trip. My boys are young, but even 10 years ago at 30 I didn’t even consider that I would have children…ever…and here I am and I love them fiercely.

    One of the reasons I considered homeschooling in the first place was from meeting a family when I lived in New Mexico. The daughter was 15. The parents were Reiki Therapists. When I met them I thought – WOW. She loved her parents, they got along, they had smart conversations, they obviously respected her and she them, she had friends of all ages, she had interests and was smart and funny and interesting. I remember thinking…wow, she never was taught to ‘hate’ her parents. She was glorious. So it doesn’t have to be a conflicted age, I don’t think. Obviously each human is an individual, but that was still inspiring! 😉

  4. Boy, I can relate. My girl just turned 13 and all is fairly smooth so far. But to think of all those scary Ophelia scenarios… Hard to think those things could happen.

    And it’s wierd to hear her starting to call me “MOM” instead of mommy. 😦


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