Thirteen is hard. I remember it, and not fondly. My daughter will turn 14 in August, she graduates from 8th grade tonight. Over the past two years I've watched her move rapidly from a child to a young adult. It's a fierce transition, sometimes painful, sometimes sublime. Lydia and I had a profound first meeting, you can read about it here.
I often worry that she's cursed with being the kid that's "OK". She does well in school, she makes friends easily, she's pretty. It's easy to assume that she's just skipping along in her young life, without too many obstacles or challenges.
Sometimes I forget how intense these years are. She's negotiating the most complicated relationships that she has ever known. She's had to work harder on her schoolwork than ever before. Her body is taking off in a million different directions, with and without her permission, both inside and out.
In short, it's a crazy time.
I don't tell her enough how many times a day I think about her and smile.
I don't tell her how often I look at her and my breath just leaves my body because I am so proud of her, because she's so beautiful, because she's so smart, because she's so funny.
Sometimes she tells me she hates me. She doesn't yell it, she's not angry, she's just telling me about this powerful emotion welling up in her. I tell her she has permission to hate me as much as I love her.
She thinks I'm being sarcastic, but I'm truly not.
It's impossible to feel the special kind of loathing a teen can muster for their parents if we don't love them that much as well, but I know in that moment, she's not really feeling that side of it. It's complicated, like any intimate relationship.
These are tender years. She's trying to figure how to get away, I'm trying to figure out how to let go. We've just started this dance with each other, and I know it's going to get harder before it gets easier.
Sometimes I get so scared for her that I can't move, other times I'm so excited for her that I can't stand still.
I'm thinking it's going to be like this for a little while.
I'm OK with that.