Monday, August 27, 2012

The Stranger in My House

Living with a teenager is an experience. I've gotten used to the eye-rolls (which are actually a genetic trait among the women in my family), the door slams, the tears over seemingly nothing and the gigantic mood swings from day to day. All of these normal symptoms seem to be exacerbated in my child because of her Gemini-ness. You know, kind of sweet and tolerable one minute, hating the world purely because it exists the next. One second she loves one of the dogs and the next hates them both because they breathe. And chew her lip gloss. That she leaves out on the floor.

Teenagers are supposed to be creatures that are unrecognizable from their previous incarnations as children. But I've heard very little about the nice parts. That's probably because the nice parts are related to the saddest parts and nobody wants to watch me turn into a dribbling pool of idiotic tears. The nice part has happened over the summer, practically over night. Here is how the nice part goes:

D: Can I go do such-and-such tomorrow?
Me: Yes, after you clean your bathroom.
D: Okay, that's fair.

What? Agreeing to a chore? This has been unheard of in my house for the last 16 years! Okay, maybe 11 years. It's not like I asked her to do the dishes before she could walk. But still.

She no longer cares about the amount of time that I spend with KY. She actually asks to spend time with us. She cleans her room fairly often. She's more realistic about her abilities. As in, she now admits she's not the greatest driver in the world like she originally tried to convince me. She just carries herself differently.

There are still the not-so-nice parts. The hormones are strong in this one; there are days I can't even look at her without her freaking out. "Why are you looking at me like that??" I'm now finding panties in the laundry that look like mine, but aren't. The Disney princesses and cute teddy bears have been replaced with lace and much less material.

This is probably the most bittersweet time in my life thus far. I'm watching my little girl grow up before my very eyes. She's beginning to leave her little-girl self behind as she tries on her adult skin. I'm proud of her and amazed by her and at the same time I want to scream, "NO!! Not yet! I'm not ready!" I want to turn back the clock to those days we'd sit in the rocking chair for hours, when I'd let her nap there with me because I knew the day would come when I didn't want to let go, when she wouldn't fit in my lap so perfectly, when she didn't look to me for all of her needs but to her friends and soon, to a boy. We're now farther from those days and closer to the days when she'll know herself how I felt.

She's really excited to start school this year as she feels that this is going to be Her Year. She has youth choir, Skyliner jazz choir, her first play, and she is ready to get started. Me? Not so much. This will be the second-to-last first-day-of-school. Can we postpone it until January? At least October? Because the sooner it starts, the sooner it ends and I'm not ready for it to end. I'm not ready for the quiet. I'm not ready to miss her grumpy face in the mornings. I'm not ready to miss the excited, talking-too-fast or the laughing over nothing. I'm not ready to pack up her room and let the world take her in. As much as I like and appreciate the new person she is becoming, I'm not ready to meet her adult self.

Not yet. Just not yet.


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