I admit that sometimes I am not genuine or one hundred percent authentic; but if not, it’s because I am trying to be something else, something that is even more important to me. I want to be kind and supportive and help someone else follow their dreams, just as my friends have supported mine.
At ten, her sense of self is strong. She knows how to put together an outfit and creates just the right hairstyle to go with it. I am always impressed with her ability to match her older sister’s fur vest with a pair of leopard leggings or a jean jacket with a plaid skirt meant for the holidays. She does not get this trait from her style-challenged mother, who has worn her hair the same way for nearly two decades.
“It’s okay, Mom. I’ll take care of everything,” I stated easily, as I knew that my father wanted to be cremated, which reduced the decision-making burden. Although I was the youngest in my family, the responsibility would be mine. My brother and sister had their children to manage, and I was the most involved when it came to my dad’s care.
I have three daughters, and of course I love them all equally.
That being said, there is one that I butt heads with more, one that seems to cause my temper to flare faster and bigger.
She happens to be the one just like me.
But then I think about that little girl. The one who no one was mean to, but yet was ignored. Not even a simple hello or a nod of acknowledgment. That could be your kid. It could be mine. It may be you, and I know it’s been me.
I am tired of hearing that girls are just mean.
I am exhausted from the excuses for exclusionary behavior.
I am sick of listening to parents saying their kids didn’t do anything. Because that is the problem. They didn’t do anything. We aren’t doing anything.
We are guilty, but too unaware to notice. Too busy to pick up on the signs.
As she strolls around and around, she watches women of all ages, shapes and sizes pass her by. She sees her happiest self, her best self, in each of them, a beautiful living scrapbook of a well-lived life.
My youngest turned ten recently. She lovingly reminds me that she is officially a tween now, along with her eleven-year-old twin sisters.
Having three tween daughters would scare most people, and it should. Navigating puberty times three is not for the faint of heart.
The push and pull from practicing gratitude weighs heavily on my heart. It never comes easy to me.
It is work. It is hard. It is exhausting.
Because where does it end? There is a limitless list of things kids can be embarrassed about: not arriving to school in the right car or not having the right shoes; mothers who don’t wear make up or don yoga pants every day; or dads who scare boyfriends or dress in ridiculous ties. And yes, even a mom who does the Running Man. Even if she executes it well.