Motherhood is rewarding…and crazy. It’s upside down, right side up, sometimes refreshing, often exhausting, and everything that comes in between. When I was a new mother, all of my new-mom friends and I were so joyfully into capturing every mood, look, and coo of our babies with our brand new cameras that were purchased, of course, for this very purpose.
Suddenly, once full-day school started, the zest began to subtly subside. Then ensued a new phase of motherhood that I think most moms of school-aged children can identify with: the phase where you get up each day and just go through the motions. Time goes into a vacuum where you less frequently remember to capture a photo, much less put it into a frame. It’s not that you don’t think about those things anymore…it’s just that by now thousands of photos are taking up too much space on your hard drive, and you’ve captured every face, mood and pose your child will ever have.
You settle into this mode of motherhood without really realizing it’s happening. Your child grows, you learn to let go a little bit at a time, all in preparation for the looming teenage years that you know are impending, but still feel light years away. Until…you suddenly wake up and your child is twelve and on the precipice of being a teen. You look back, and you wonder how you suddenly arrived here. Frustratingly, she no longer fits into the adorable children’s clothes you so loved buying (and carefully packed away in sentimentality.) She now shops in the same department as you, and she doesn’t let you pick out her outfits anymore. (Wait…what?! No!) She wants to be in her room with the door shut, leaving you to wonder what you did to offend her. You suddenly feel isolated, and like part of your little heart is looking to make an escape.
I remember being twelve and a half, but this is different. Certainly MY twelve year old child isn’t as “worldly” as I was…right? When I was twelve, I was absolutely certain I knew a lot more than my mom. I was sure that I knew everything, had seen everything and was practically ready for adulthood. Surely my child doesn’t think this about me…or does she?! So many things about being twelve have changed. I used to spend countless hours talking to my BFF on a landline in the kitchen, curling the spiraling cord around my skinny, pre-teen finger as I tried to whisper my secrets so nobody would over-hear. Thirty-some years later, my daughter keeps her little fingers limber by texting at the speed of conversation from the insular confines of her bedroom. *sigh*
Motherhood…what a crazy ride. I have so many feelings as I embark on these last six months before the teen years are upon us. There are fears of the unknown…fears of her doing the same things I did in my teens (OMG, No!) and of her making the same mistakes. Do you have a teenager? Do you have advice for living through it? What can I do to prepare?
For today, I’ll enjoy the fact that my little girl still has enough child in her to want her Easter photo taken with two of her favorite stuffies, and ignore the fact that her shoes are only minimally smaller than mine.
Actress, writer, and Mom living in Burbank, California.