I saw a book about parenting "tweens" that pictured a porcupine on the front cover. It amused me at the time but now it is hitting home. I have two "tweens" in the house, Sam and Mary Elizabeth. Of the two, Mary Elizabeth has the most prickles. Daily, I feel the pokes of those prickles in the form of sighing, eye-rolling and general disgust with life as she knows it. It is hard to remember the sweet little girl who always enjoyed playing dress-up, twirling around the house and tea parties. I know she is there but she sure does a good job of concealing it.
Emme, as we call her, is very emotional and passionate. Hmmm...am I looking in a mirror? (No comments from my own mother necessary!) The other day when Emme was going on and on about some flagrant injustice like the price of Rice Kripy treats at the snack sale, Sam commented, "Boy, Mom, she sure is your daughter." Sam then reminded me of my harping on a questionable answer at a quiz bowl tournament in which he participated. Bringing it up had me responding- "Well, clearly it should have been ..." and "It is absolutely ridiculous that...". To which Sam plainly said, "See what I mean?"
All this emotion and passion between the two of us, can definitely make it difficult as we navigate the rough waters of the next few years. Any mother who has been through it knows that feeling that you can't do anything right. You don't know anything. You don't understand. I can really take this to heart instead of giving her a little space and taking it with a grain of salt, like I should. It isn't pleasant to be swept up in an hormonal tidal wave. Some days, I feel as if I have been beaten on the shore, unable to get my bearings.
There are times, however, that Mary Elizabeth is her old self, kind and carefree. Today, we were heading to a Mother/Daughter day hosted by the Catholic Church to discuss growing up. Well, at least I was headed. Emme, on the other hand, was being "DRAGGED there". I managed to ignore her whining. In the car she proclaimed this gem. "Mom, I think we make a cute pair." Wow! It took my breath away. I started to protest and say something like, "Well, it sure doesn't feel like that most of the time.", but I stopped myself. She had given me a gift. I kept my mouth closed and graciously accepted it. I realized I shouldn't get caught up in the rough waters or let them toss me about. I simply need to use little gifts like these to help me keep my eyes on the prize.
And what a prize she has always been!