Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

13 Going On 30

I really shouldn't panic because she's just like me. In fact, she's so much like me that it's scary. I can practically read what's on her 13-year old mind. I know that she's insecure about how she looks and wishes virtually everything about herself was different. She wants straight hair. (I wanted curly.) She wants to be skinny. (So do I.) She'd like to be smart, and she is, but being popular is much more fun. (Ditto.)

What she doesn't know is that I think she's beautiful. I try not to stare at her or risk hearing "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? GOD!" But I can't help myself. She may not be model material, but there's a sparkle in her eyes and a twinkle in her smile that's infectious. She's fun to listen to and is way more witty than most 13-year olds. In fact, she's really funny. She can actually have a conversation with adults...and it doesn't include the word "like" every three seconds.

What worries me is that she wants to be anybody but herself. She emulates everyone, except me, of course. She wants the same clothes, shoes and purses that her friends have. I should just ask to go through their closets so I know what she likes. It's not that she's a sheep, it's just that she lives for their approval, their affirmation. Like I said, this worries me.

I wish she could have her own style and feel comfortable flaunting it. On the other hand, if her own style included multiple piercings and black lipstick, then nevermind. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) I want her to be an individual without rebelling. I don't think the two can be separated.

I was just like she was when I was 13, but she never believes me when I say that, so I've stopped mentioning it. Because, like her, I thought everything my mom said was so incredibly lame. Like me, my mom tried pretty hard to connect with me. Like me, my daughter pushes me away.

What I want to tell her is to enjoy this time now, even though it feels confusing and stressful and irritating and boring. I want to tell her that there will be too many years ahead to be an adult, so she shouldn't spend today wishing she was there already. She doesn't care. She wants to be older, even at the expense of her youth.

Yes, youth is definitely wasted on the young.


At 5:10 PM , Blogger the stranger said...

Oh how I remember those years!

13 and waiting to be 16 and waiting to be 18, then 21. I was the same with my mother as you were with yours.

One of the things she alway used to say was "Don't be in such a rush to get older because the older you get, the faster the years go by."

That was one of those gems that I shrugged off then but realized later was the absolute truth.

Another realization that didn't hit me until I was almost 40 was that I was actually PRETTY when I was in my teens and early 20's! I can't tell you the shock I felt when that hit me.

Oh, if only we knew then what we know now, huh?


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