I am the first to call out my 13 year old with her antics. Mid eye roll, hair flip or arguments she’s been known to sigh and say, “You are sooooooooooooooo going to blog about this aren’t you?” to which I always respond, “Oh you bet your sweet bitty I am.” I am convinced that my blogging has saved her life on more than one occasion. The outlet has served her well because there were many a times when the eye roll, hair flip, dramatic sigh or elongated vowel sounds have pushed me well past my breaking point.
Her grandmother nailed the situation perfectly with a shirt that read, “I never argue, I just explain why I am right.”
We bicker and fight and spew like…well…like stubborn mother and headstrong teen daughter. My father made the mistake of telling her she was acting just like I did at that age and now she manages to throw, “you are just mad because I am acting just like you” into the argument. She’s the dumbest, smartest person I’ve ever met in my life because the moment she elects to use this particular taunt are never, ever the time nor the place to do so. Timing is everything and hers just stinks most of the time.
While I have no shame about pointing out her considerable ‘tude I don’t often brag on her pure sweetness. And, to quote the bag boy who gazed down at her swaddled from head to toe in pink when she was a wee one, that’s pure sweetness right there. My mother and I laughed uproariously at the time because sweet was NOT a word I’d use to describe her as a baby. But the truth is that she does have the sweetest heart. She does, in her own way, go out of her way to make me feel loved and appreciated. She’s most decidedly the one I want picking out my nursing home. It is my big girl that worries about me when everyone has places to be but me. It’s my girl that always asks about my day. She’s the one that saved her money to buy me a Christmas present that she thought, rightfully so, I would love. It’s this magnificent creature who never fails to thank me for taking her places or for letting her go and do and see things. She’s a slob but she is also the only one that makes an attempt to pick up the place when I work late. Granted, it’s usually her stuff strewn about but it’s the effort I am praising here so let me move on. My big girl is quick to want but quick to offer to pay for things herself. She’s aware that money isn’t always in abundance and is acutely aware of what she ask for. I am going to pat myself on the back and credit myself with this particular victory. Read about that here: $100
Mothering a 13 year old is like having front row seats to Jekyll and Hyde nightly. It’s also not a job for the faint of heart. One minute you are the stupidest person alive and the next you are brilliant. And just when you think you know what’s going on WHOOP! It changes. The very compliment that one days makes her smile will reduce her to tears the next. One minute she’s sauntering around in a bikini looking like a sports illustrated model (to her brothers horror) and the next she’s wrapped up in mickey mouse pajamas with fuzzy socks sucking on a popsicle. One minute she’s poised and mature and statuesque and the next she’s impish and childlike and innocent. Literally in minutes she can change from one to the other. She can argue like an experienced ADA and WIN on one subject but in the very next breath whine, “…but I can’t put away the milk because I don’t know where it gooooooooeeessssssss….” Teenage girls are 13 going on 26 or they are 13 acting 3. You never know what you are going to get. It’s exasperating and exhausting yet rewarding and amazing all wrapped up on one very cute, bewildering package.
To her credit she hit 13 about the same time I hit 45. Nothing good happens at 45. Her hormones are gearing up and are in high gear. Mine are winding down and giving up. Everything that is started to perk on her is starting to sag on me. She’s got her whole life ahead of her and I am at the age where I have more time in the rear view mirror then in the windshield. She’s beautiful and I am obviously past my prime. She’s amping up and I am shifting down. It’s life’s little joke to throw 2 beings so similar yet in such vastly different places in life together and not expect fireworks.
Having been allowed to do everything she wanted over the weekend we’ve had a pretty good few days. Nary a morning knock-down-drag-out. I haven’t taken away her phone…and it’s TUESDAY. Neither of us has burst into tears and retreated to their room and it’s TUESDAY! We’ve managed actual conversations. We’ve had dialogue. She didn’t finish her chore but at least she started it. I managed to not pop my top and she managed to apologize for not being responsible and doing her chore first. Victory I tell you. I rewarded her by not freaking out and gave her the time to make it right. And she did. I am not delusional enough to think this peace will last but I am smart enough to enjoy it while it’s happening.
So today when I got an email from the middle school asking for volunteers for her end of year party I didn’t want to risk ruining our positive momentum. I texted her, tentatively, that volunteers were needed and should I help or not. I am not much of a joiner but my mom guilt was kicking in so I was half-heartedly thinking I should help but was expecting to get a “HECK NO” response that would have allowed me to recuse myself with no guilt. To my complete and utter surprise she immediately texted me back with a YAY. This wasn’t a ‘let me test the waters to see how mom wants me to answer before I answer the way I want to answer’ sort of text. This was definitive and positive and straight up. Before she could change her mind or I changed mine I signed up. Tickets and check-in…figured I could scope things out without infringing on her too much with that job. Plus it seemed the lesser of the evils. Policing 6th, 7th and 8th graders on inflatables seemed horrifying. Concessions made my head hurt and I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what DAD PATROL consisted of. Tickets and check in seemed safe on many fronts. A few clicks and I was committed. I texted her back that I had signed up and was rewarded with a….wait for it…YAY!
I am way more tickled over her response then I have a right to be over her response. I feel like Sally Field in her famous, “you like me, you really like me” speech.