On having a daughter who just turned 13

I forgot to post last week. Well, I didn’t forget to post, I just didn’t. I wanted to write a pithy post perhaps peppered with wisdom about having an official teenager. (I will not apologize for my propensity for alliteration. I will not) 

But I have nothing. No wisdom. No advice. Nothing to say.

Just kidding. I always have something to say. It is just not wise, nor am I confident I want to be the mother spouting out the truisms.

But of course I will, because if I don’t spout out the truisms she’ll have nothing to go on, right?

I am also a little hypnotised by the number 13. That means I have been a mother for 13 years. Which means I have been married this year for 15. I have been in that same relationship for 17 years.

Numbers daze me. I repeat them to myself, trying to make them sink in. 13. 15. 17. Like some sort of mathematical formula. But no. They remain numbers and deep down a part of me rejects that they have anything to do with me.

But the truth cannot be denied. I do have a 13 year old. But it isn’t like that movie Thirteen, where the girls get up to all sorts of shenanigans. My 13 year old still wants to hang out with me. She loves to read, loves to hang out with her friends. Loves to go swimming and dance around the house with her sister. My thirteen year old went to her first real dance yesterday, with actual boys. She didn’t talk to any of them. She spent the night dancing with her friends.

She was so nervous though there were actual tears and an urge to not go at all. She was nervous about what to wear. How does it work? Do I bring shoes? What should I carry my student card in?

These are all very big questions when you are thirteen.

She didn’t say it, but I am sure she was also thinking what if I do something wrong and embarrass myself?

The biggest question of all and just another example of how being a parent is like reliving your own painful moments but worse because it is your child and you want to take their pain and anxiety away no matter what it is. But you can’t.

We couldn’t just drop her off, but had to stay in the car waiting for her possie to show up. When they finally did, four girls jumping out of a minivan and running up the stairs to the school gym, she flew out of the car and across the street to catch up. She didn’t say goodbye. She didn’t even close the car door. She was like a reverse Cinderella.

She was wearing a new top she had bought at the mall on Sunday.

I think I would look very good in that top…

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3 Responses to On having a daughter who just turned 13

  1. Alice Zorn says:

    Me, too, I haven't yet figured out whether to bring shoes and where to carry my cards. Makes me feel very old and stupid. I'm sure your daughter is a quicker learner than I am.
    Do you actually raid her wardrobe? There have to be some consolations for being the mother of a bona fide teenager.

  2. I have snuck into her closet to try some of the shirts on only to be confronted with the gap between how old I think I am in my mind and how old I am in reality…But seriously no. I think borrowing my teenage daughter's clothes will open up a door into her borrowing my clothes and I hate when people borrow my clothes. I still have traumatic memories of my sisters raiding my closet without asking. I am not good at sharing. It's a fault, I know, but what are you gonnna do?

  3. Alice Zorn says:

    You're right. Respect the doors so that yours will be respected in turn.

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