The words of warning are well-intentioned I know, and kind of redundant. As a single parent of a now 13.5 year old and an 11-year-old I’ll have two girls in the teens together. Yeah, they warn of the teen years (especially for girls), as of now my strategy to survival is being able to take a step back.
Right now it’s more the case with the older than the younger, there is a lot of feeling out to see just how far she can go – and at the same time some clinging to make sure she stays safe. I fully know this will change over the next few years.
As she tries to branch out, I try to let her do it and explore the world around her. I cherish the moments she decides to cling to her childhood and just hang – but I also want her to be independent and able to be out in the world.
Being able to step back though is not quite as easy as it sounds. You have to be willing to live with mistakes and lessons. Being able to step back means giving up some control so she can get out and explore the world.
Friday I went to pick her up after school at a friend’s house to find her there with her friend and a boy. The plan was they were going to go out to dinner with a third girl and all come back to my house. This would have been the first boy (minus the kids in the neighborhood) coming over.
Today its a trip to the mall with a friend with a friend. We don’t live close enough for two 13 year old’s to make it to the mall on their own. The friend’s mother is driving them there and will likely be in the mall. I fully expect the two of them to venture off and go make up shopping or something like that.
At this moment I ask myself if I did my job to prepare her for this. Did I show her how to be aware of her surroundings? Can she find her way from end to end? I think yes, but we’ll find out.
With a deep breath today I find myself being able to step back….