Mostly about my daughter….

October 28, 2008

….who on the one hand, I wish I could trade places with, so boundless is her mind, so confident is her spirit in ways that I never could have imagined at ten and a half. This girl has no math insecurity, no sense that she ever need choose between her love for numbers and science and her passion for beauty and literature. Sometimes her future seems to be without limits — sure she can be a famous author/chemist/mother — what could possibly stop her? (Incidentally, that’s rhetorical; I don’t really want answers as to what might hinder my kids!) But on the other hand? Oh, I wouldn’t trade places with her for the world times ten.

It’s a tricky thing, these days, talking about my kids on the internet. I feel acutely aware that information here can be accessed, found, discussed by others, and that as my kids get older they may feel that my mentioning them at all is an invasion of some level of privacy. Just because her mother keeps little of her life behind closed doors, Abby may not necessarily be the same type of person. So while I’m here, I’ll try to be both honest and circumspect.

She’s changing, you see. I remember this age and remember feeling like every morning I woke up to a slightly different body and a slightly different state of being. Not that I could have articulated that at the time mind you — my articulation of such a mind-boggling place in my life probably often manifested itself in giggles and slammed doors, in long telephone conversations with friends and eye rolls at my mother. (By the way, sorry about all that, mom.) And we have some of the aforementioned going on here. But what I don’t remember, or couldn’t at the time see from my then ten year old self, was that I probably got just a tad more…well, interesting around this age.

My daughter is suddenly an awesome conversationalist. At least some of the time. And she’s wickedly funny at times too, so long as she’s not already decided in that particular moment that I couldn’t be any dumber if I tried. She requires more privacy, both physically and emotionally. And wow can she be moody these days. Sometimes I feel like we’re in a cheesy old movie, where the heroine swings wildy from, “Alas, no one could possibly care enough to understand me!” all the way to “Oh, yes, yes, yes, do please get me some garlic bread!” I have maternal whiplash.

This past Friday, Abby had an overlong orthodontist appointment where she had the dreaded herps device placed. In short, this tortuous piece of metal connects her upper and lower teeth with a springy-thingy and has a bar that sits behind her top teeth — all for the purpose of pulling out her recessed lower jaw. And yes, so far, it’s just about as bad as it sounds. Over the weekend, she kept getting food stuck somewhere between her tongue and the bar, and her whole sweet face seemed swollen. We dosed her with motrin and fruit smoothies, but for a kid that already struggles with eating, this has not and will not be easy for her. Friday night she sat with me and wept, “Things have just been so HARD lately!”

And crap if I didn’t agree with her. It has been hard for her: new school, new feelings, ever-changing sense of her self…and now this damn thing too! I’m realizing, in short, that my job as a mother is less about changing or fixing her circumstances, but about coming alongside her in the midst of circumstances. I find it simultaneously frightening and exhilarating that Abby’s life experience is growing to the extent that I no longer manage much of it. Control freak (see previous post!) that I am, I want to fix everything for her, but the other side of this equation is that her expanding world and her ability to handle it is quite wonderfully wonderful too.

Several people have noticed how the herps device has already made a difference in the look of her face. I swear, sometimes I look at her and I’m poleaxed by the glimmers of the woman she will become. Sure her teeth will be straight, and by god her lower jaw will be aligned (!), but there’s something else there too. There’s a luminousness in her, a sense of being on the brink of becoming who God made her to be. And frankly, she’s pretty. Really, really pretty. She claims to not care about such superficial things, and on one level, she’s such a person of the mind, that I really think her looks matter little to her. And I couldn’t love her more, no matter how she appears. But it’s weird to catch sight of her out of the corner of my eye and see this lovely young…woman. Yes, this (still very) young woman.

These are going to be challenging years. The early polling for age eleven does not look as if this race will be won in a landslide. But I can’t wait to see how she turns out.

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One Response to “Mostly about my daughter….”

  1. She’s a good egg. Really — she’s actually gotten to that age where it makes sense to put her at the “big people” table.

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