Friday, April 26, 2013

One Hundred Percent Love

Lola Moon, 11
5th grade
it is the end of the schoolyear
it is her last year of Girl Scouts
she will be starting dance classes, her new passion

She still plays with her American girl dolls all the time
but when friends come over who aren't her best friends,
she hides the dolls in her closet
Her spirit is still as clear and beautiful as it was the day she was born
It shines with an undiluted light that tells me
we've been both very lucky and also very diligent and hard working
I take my job as a mother as seriously as I've ever taken anything.
This can be very painful
because I'm far from perfect-
but if my children aren't worth awful, bone deep growing pains
that keep you up at night
then what is?
She's in the beautiful in between
where she is old enough to know her own mind
and to see the beginnings of the edges of what is dark in this world
but not exposed or aware enough yet to be saturated.
She feels deep empathy for others and parallel
is at the starting gate of excruciating 'embarrassin' pains' :
that time in your life where what you fear most is being humiliated.
This is why when I asked her how her day was yesterday
she told me the story with emotion:
how her friend was SO EMBARRASSED and she felt SO BAD for her
because her cell phone rang in class
and her ringtone was a pop song
I don't make fun of her too much
Just a little bit
And I'm careful what I do make fun of
I know her true sore spots
and I stay far away from them
because I love her
and I don't feel the need to put her in her place.
Most of the time. And when I do, I try to do it firmly. Not meanly.
This is a big deal for me.

She is getting an edge, a pre teen edge
that roughs up my own unsmoothed edges.
These are the frictions between mothers and daughters
and will be the hardest working years of parenting her for me
mostly not because of her
but because of me.
I'm sure you understand.
I have to make close observation of my actions
and make sure that I'm not parenting an 11 year old girl
from the long ago welts and hurts of the 11 year old girl I was.
I have to find the woman in me when the girl in me is getting in the way
and parent both my own daughter and myself.
I'm going to have some miserable failures.
I am, I am.
But long ago my therapist told me 80% :
keep it good 80% of the time
and your gold.
So here's to 85% percent
because I like to dream big
and this girl is worth it.

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