Monday, March 23, 2015


I found this in my computer files today— forgotten and never posted.  It’s 6 months old and still on the front row of my heart- one of the things anyway…Some things are already different and I’ll do a “P.S.” at the end.

I walked through Julia’s room the other day looking for something and I stepped over this.

I then turned around and stared, imagining the scenario as it took place.  These beloved American Girl dolls which filled her Christmas lists for several years running— the clothes, the accessories, the books {I bet she read them all a dozen times}— these 18” dolls, make rare appearances these days.  And I can’t help but wonder what’s going on in her maturing mind and heart when they do.  And then there’s “Miss Hepburn” who she has consistently identified since she was two.  I would have had nothing to do with that.  {“Mr. Grant” nor “Mr. Stewart” were as impressionable.}  She evidently tucked her doll in and decided to get a bit of fashion inspiration.  “Stuck” was all that would come to mind.  She’s stuck in between.  In between elementary and high school.  In between little girl and teenager.  In between not having a phone and having a phone.  In between flats and heels.  In between no make-up and the whole shebang.  In between family devotions and her own personal one.

In between American Girl dolls and Audrey Hepburn.

Stuck.  What a tricky place to be.  I remember it well with hardly a fond memory.  Maybe my best moments were the day I got my braces on— and the day I got them off.

I’ve noticed as our kids grow older, some lines grow fuzzier.  Parenting do’s and don’ts aren’t  as hard and fast as they were when they were 5.  Some boundaries seem much more subjective now.  Things are happening, privileges are given at very different ages in her peer groups— and even in this, she is stuck in between her friends.  Just yesterday, she asked her daddy for an iPhone and went on to strengthen her case by enumerating all the kids in her class who had one.  This morning I asked her if all those kids’ parents made them go to bed at 6 and wake up at 4 to do chores, would she want us to make that decision?  And if they had NO screens whatsoever in their homes, would she want us to do that too?  I asked her why did she think that what other parents were allowing their kids to do- or not do- would influence Jeff and me? Oh, of course it does, but I wanted her to think about that.  I do feel this is the age where new freedoms are given and some things long considered “grown-up” to her are being talked through by her daddy and me as to WHEN she can enjoy things like make-up, heels, phones— those being the relatively easy things.  Those are certainly not deal-breakers.   And some of you think I am crazy— that she’s twelve and these are privileges still being withheld.   But I’m okay with that- with your thinking I’m crazy.  Just don't tell me.

So right now she is in a holding pattern— of Burt’s Bees lip balm, the “heels” on her cowboy boots and a hardly working iPhone 3 with no service.   She’s “holding” patiently, I think.  I am proud of her because I remember how hard it is.

 And that’s what I want her to know.  

Post Script:  So time flies, right?  It’s why I write things down.  I remember this day— this struggle of “Am I being too hard?”  “Am I really the ONLY parent who doesn’t allow _________________?”   “Will she ever understand why?”  Just a few months after I wrote this, she turned 13.  We purchased mascara and a darker shade of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer.  She also was given an Instagram account on our “family iPhone”.  She was not, however, given heels that day.  I knew it wasn’t a hill on which I was going to die but I just didn’t want to go looking with her fearing the conflict that might jump out of nowhere and stink up whatever store we were in.  {Also, I am not a heel person so I haven’t been able to relate to her passionate desire for them!} But just last week, I saw a pair of wedges at TJ Maxx— snapped a photo and sent it to her, on the "family iPhone"— and to a trusty friend.  Thumbs up from both parties— with the great advice from that friend, “Now, Krista,  if you buy them, you’ve got to let her wear them when she wants to.”  You know, when I got home with them and she tried them on, it looked right.  She’s old enough for 2 + inch wedges.  She didn’t look like she was playing dress up.  It looked like a natural part of her outfit.

All that to say, timing is an important thing.  Different kids are ready for things at different times.  And the waiting isn’t going to kill them.  {Or me.}  If anything, it could make them appreciate the privilege more.  So now, I still feel like she is in a holding pattern, stuck, I guess— just looks a little different today—between independence and dependence, wondering how much autonomy is good and how much is unhealthy, what sort of help she needs from us and what things she needs to figure out on her own.  I also see this 21 months between my two favorite kids can feel like 5 years— her feeling MUCH older and him sensing it-- loud and clear— when it’s really just 21 months.  Stuck— in adolescence, between a kid and a young adult, between fighting with your sibling and being the fiercest friends, between thinking parents are too hard and thinking they are too wonderful for words....

Ha.  Is that a little over the top?  Maybe.  Just a little.  


TJ Wilson said...

Best part: "When I got home with them and she tried them on, it looked right." What a win!

Alyssa said...

Like TJ, I loved the shoe story! But part of me wants to keep her wearing heels only for playing dress up.