My baby is going to be 12 in 21 days. TWELVE.
My oldest child... the beginning of something truly beautiful, a new phase of my life that I thought I would never be lucky enough to experience.
It's been gritty and tortuous being a parent, and at other times soulful and stomach-hugging hilarious.
Today, I realized that my oldest child is so much like me, so much more than I had ever realized. I mean, I had always thought she looked a little more like me and we share a eerily similar sense of humor. We inflect on words the same, and our laughs can be the same growly, bark of a laugh or nearly the same hysterical howl. We share almost the exact same nose, and we both feel the same dread over the size.
But beyond all of that, while we talked about friendships, I could see the person she is becoming. At some point we were both exasperated and my eyes were opened, as I forced myself to listen more instead pontificating aloud, sharing my "refined" wisdom as an adult.
As I admitted to her that I didn't know everything I saw something click in my daughter, as if those were the words she had been longing me to say since her existence.
I stopped for a moment and told her that all I ever want for her in life is to do good, and not make the same mistakes I did. My words are meant as a cautionary tale, never judgement. I want to give my kids all the things my mother didn't like sound advice and a bent ear... understanding.
We had an honest talk about a friendship she has that has turned sour, and this person is no longer viewed through rose colored glasses and Anna is finally seeing her for who she really is: a mean spirited brat who enjoys humiliating and bullying others. Now that Anna has rekindled a friendship from grade school- who this mean little bully does not like- now the bully has caught my daughter in her icy glare. Anna has now been bullied.
Don't weep for my child, make no mistake... my daughter is strong in will and most of the time character. I am proud of her for standing up to this miserable little person, and for standing her ground.
She is a bit hard headed like her dad's side of the family, and she can be a little tender under her hard shell... both of which she gets from me I think. It hurts me to see her frustration (and hurt, though she refuses to admit it), but I laid out the options/choices ahead of her in this situation.
1. The obvious backstabbing and dirtying of the name of said person, justified by tales of all the ways this person has hurt her... which NEVER ends well and ALWAYS backfires.
2. Stay neutral and continue to defend herself while faking her way through this botched "friendship".
3. MOVE ON. Leave it all behind and enjoy those people who really truly are her friends.
She did say midway through our talk that she had just had the realization, "Why am I bothering to be friends with her?"
So if nothing hopefully she now understands that confiding in her mom can be cathartic and therapeutic, and that I am an ally and not the enemy.
And maybe, just maybe she realizes that I do pretty much know what I am talking about. Most of the time.
I learned today that it's not such a bad thing that we are so much alike.
I hope that one day she realizes it too.