Are you there....

Are you there, God? It's me, Lisa. I have a tween. I was once a tween though I don't remember being one. I remember being a teen, though, and here is a highlight:  I once flounced (and flounce is a word that can only be used when describing dramatic teen females) away from my dad when he made the attempt to show me how to check my oil and tires since it was clear I did not pay attention in driver's ed. That is a different story, but I owe my passing grade and first licence to Kevin Reinking and Jason Holcomb. Thanks, guys. 


Anyway.


We lived on a farm and my dad and the other males were motor heads. Even my sister was a bit of a motor head. It doesn't matter that I then defined motor head as someone who knew how to check their oil and tires and pump their own gas. What mattered was I didn't want to do it. As I said, I flounced dramatically into the house screaming (because you must scream while you flounce--otherwise, the effect is ruined),  "I can't believe you want me to do this! None of my friends have to do this!" There may or not have been a few tears and a splotchy red face. Mine, not my dad's. You see, God. I recognized injustice at an early age.

But, God, now that I have a tween I am finally seeing the error of my youthful ways and fear for my future.Yesterday, we asked my daughter to choose our family activity. There are loads of options in the fair city of Winona. And my dear tween is wont to lurk in her room with Taylor Swift and a Twilight book and, well, we have dreams for her. Yesterday, we just wanted her to see the sun. So we gave her the power  and control for our family event. The unthinkable even occured. Her brother invited her to actively play with him. In a stunning move they did not broadcast on the Olympics coverage, we all waited with bated breath for her response. With a shrug, she said, "No thanks." We were crushed but persisted like the Olympiads that we are. 


"It's your call, babe. We can go for a bike ride, to the pool, the lake, whatever you want."

Her chin started to wobble, the eyes became shiny, and her face fell.  Huh? I was thinking to myself. What did I say?


"What is wrong, honey?"


"I. AM. THINKING."


Ok, I think to myself.  That hurts? is painful? makes you cry?  I don't get it. She sits for fifteen minutes saying nothing while we are trying to get on with our day.  The tear (only one) slides down her cheek as she announces, "Let's bike."


A collective sigh is released and out she goes to find her helmet. I quickly send up a prayer asking that Big Man NOT ask her to check her tires.


I am confused, God. I don't get her even though I recall my own dramatic self. Car maintenance while dressed to the nines in jelly shoes and matching comb in the back pocket of your new jeans is one thing, but choosing what to do outdoors on a pleasant summer day does not seem to be a tortuous task.


Please advise God.  She is only 11.  She will not have jelly shoes or a car EVER at this rate. I have heard that no matter what I do,  it will be wrong. The physical aspects of puberty seem pretty straight forward, but the emotional aspects are apparently going to do us in.


Thanks for your help.


Lisa

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're doing it right, even if she doesn't know it. Love this post. We have to laugh at this because otherwise we'd cry. I had a foster daughter in her teens a decade ago and there was a lot of door slamming and pouty in her dark bedroom and deep breaths on my part. On the occasions in which she would come out of her head and share what was going on with me, I would find all the heartache of living with her to be worth it. I had to remember how much I hated that age and how difficult it was to want to be myself yet fit in, and I had to constantly remind her that some day none of this will matter. You know what helped us survive those years? A weekly date at the malt shop down the road. We usually got them to go and sucked them through thick straws while sitting next to each other in the car. No matter what else was going on we knew that once a week we were going to get away from all the other stress of our lives and just sit with each other with $5 milkshakes. Somehow magic always happened in those moments and now that she's got a masters degree in education and is teaching 4th graders in inner city chicago, I hardly remember the tears and the door slamming but I treasure those milkshake moments. Hang in there. It's like childbirth after it's over. You forget the pain because you have something amazing in front of you.

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