H has a crush on another 8th grader. I think when I look back this may be the turning point for when my little girl changed into a teenager. When she was little, we never had a really bad “terrible 2” stage, and other than her anxiety over grades in middle school, the transition was really smooth. She always told me everything about her day, asked about mine, and took my advice on just about everything, from school work to personal habits, and even every once in awhile, she listened to my input about boys. Not anymore.
Now, I get the ipod in the ears, the “mmm-hmmm”, or “not much”, “fine”, and “nothing” one syllable answers when I ask her questions. I’m trying not to get too upset. I know it’s part of her growing up, becoming more independent, and thinking for herself. It’s hard to admit to myself that J and I are not the only influences on her life anymore. I can still steer her, gently protect her to a certain degree, and hopefully give her opportunities to make her own decisions and along with that, her own mistakes. With luck she’ll learn from those mistakes, and try to make more good choices than bad.
Right now, the “crush” is very exciting. I do remember those feelings. I also remember the heartbreak that came after the initial exhilaration. I wish I could protect her from that, but I think she has to go through all of it, the good and the bad. I can’t wait until she comes out on the other side, to my open arms!
Took H and two friends to Florida for the weekend. She’ll be 14 in a week. It was a really great weekend for the girls…they’re old enough and well behaved enough to have some freedom…riding on the golf cart, going to the beach club, shopping at the mall, and they had a blast. At this point in time, we are so thrilled with her choice of friends. They seem to be good influences, well behaved, good students, and they all have so much fun together. It was fun to just sit back and observe.
I just got an email reminding me that it’s the 20th anniversary of a really fun beach party I used to go to. A friend’s parents had a beach house, and what started as a small gathering grew every year to this huge crazy party. It was called the “SOB”…no one really knew what it stood for, although every year we’d try to decide, but it had one rule…”Bring no ties”. You weren’t supposed to bring anyone you’d seen socially more than once. Mass quantities of beer, smurf punch, jug wine, and shots were consumed. We had so much fun (at least, I think we did), but now I have to worry about H going to the beach without us! I’d like to think that she is so much smarter than I was.
H asked me today if she should watch what she’s eating. She already eats healthier than most of her friends. There is a scale in the workout room and she and her two friends get on it every now and then, and of course, compare weights. Last week, H weighed 2 lbs less than this week, so she’s afraid since she decided not to run cross country that she’s gaining too much weight. I try to explain about puberty, muscle weighing more than fat, etc., but I can tell she’s not sure she’s buying it. She never weighs herself at home. The doctor weighs her, and they weigh her at camp, but that’s about it. Even though she is NOT by any stretch of the imagination overweight, I can tell she’s starting to worry about it. She’s growing taller, she’s filling out, and it’s all perfectly normal. How are parents supposed to encourage healthy habits? I am afraid that I have inadvertently projected my fear of overweight to her. I’m very careful never to talk about “dieting” or my own preoccupation with not gaining weight like my relatives, but I think she picks up on it anyway. Already, a friend has struggled with disordered body image, etc. I don’t want H to have to worry about that kind of thing!
God, I don’t miss middle school. H goes to a small private school and the girls in her class have known each other since Kindergarten, for the most part. It’s a relatively small class. A friend of H ‘s went to sit down with a group of girls who told her that she couldn’t sit there, they were “reserving” the table for only those they wanted to sit with. These are girls they play sports with, go to dances with, even sleepovers together. What makes them decide to be exclusive all of a sudden? Does it make them feel better about themselves to have “power” over who sits at their table? I guess it happens all the time at this age, but that doesn’t make it right, or any easier to swallow. Maybe the experience of being the person excluded prepares them for adult life…not getting into the sorority they want, or the country club, or even the “cool” group at the office. H’s friend didn’t realize they were being serious, at first. She said, “Yeah, right, thanks a lot guys”, and continued to sit down. When they said, “No, really, we mean it.” She said, “Whatever” and sat by herself until everyone else came out.
As a parent, I want to give those girls a piece of my mind, but I won’t. I will keep my mouth shut and talk to H about how silly and small minded that kind of behaviour is, and hopefully, she won’t be one of those girls. Let’s face it, as women, we need our girlfriends. The more we alienate ourselves from each other the more we hurt ourselves.
No big drama for the HSM2 party. We had our party, she had hers. The kids here had a blast. Very loud, though, which is a good thing, I guess. When they’re quiet is when I will worry. The movie was a disappointment, I’m told, but it wasn’t really about the movie.
Got up very early to drive down to OAR to do a full river rafting trip on the Ocoee! So exciting, and a little bit scary. The guides are good at what they do, and luckily, we had two really good ones. Taylor took the three girls, a dad and brother. The 3 moms with Alan and guide James. They had an orientation for the group, teaching us how to hold the paddle, how to get back in the boat, what to do if you fell out of the boat, and a couple examples of things that could go wrong (pull feet up, don’t try to stand or else you can get your foot jammed in rocks and the water will hold you underwater…not good if you can’t hold your breath for a couple of hours). H was really quiet on the bus ride to the start, and when I asked her why, she said she was a little nervous about falling out. I think it was good that she was a little nervous, it meant that she took the advice seriously. It was all good, though. They had so much fun. I don’t think she ever stopped smiling for the whole 10 mile trip down the river. The water was extremely cold, which felt great at first, because it was sunny and warm. By the end of the ride when the sun started to go down it got really cold, though, which wasn’t helped by our sweet daughters and Justin who just loved splashing us with their oars. Taylor taught them how to really get a lot of water with their splashes, unlike us who thrashed around pretty uselessly.
Anyway, we got a great night’s sleep last night! It was a long day.
H wanted to have a few friends over to watch High School Musical on Friday. J didn’t want to have a huge party because we’re leaving early the next day to go rafting. So she carefully chose a few girls and boys to come and issued the invitation. One of the girls who was invited wanted H to invite more people, but J said ‘No”. So of course, the girls who weren’t invited are now having a party at the same time. God, I don’t miss 8th grade, and the drama that goes with it. H hates to hurt anyone’s feelings, but now she’s worried that her guests will have to choose between her small get-together and a bigger party somewhere else. More to come, I’m sure…
We’re leaving in the morning to pick up our girl from camp. She’s been gone almost four weeks and I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything else. Is that bad? She’s almost 14 and I know she loves camp, loves the independence and being with her girlfriends, so that is all good. I just personally have such a hard time when she’s not around. If I could at least talk to her on the phone and hear her voice I think it would be much easier. There should be a support group for parents of only children when their kids are away for an extended time. When she’s here I am not only J’s wife, but I’m also H’s Mom, which is the most consuming, and most rewarding job I’ve ever had. It’s like I have to be at work with nothing to do!