I talk a lot about my son here, mostly because he does the crazy stuff in the family, but lest you forget, I also have a daughter. As a matter of fact, this place is named after her.
Let me start by saying that I’m really proud of my first-born who will be turning…gulp…13 in a couple of months. She is an amazing student, keeps her room clean and I never have to tell her to do her homework, study or read. She serves at church, does volunteer work and likes to help around the house (if she’s getting paid for it, anyway).
But, over the last year…whoa. Something has snapped in her personality and, though I had heard rumors about this stage, I can’t say I was prepared for it. Now she is short with us, she knows more than we do and I won’t even mention how she treats her little brother. Her usual stance is defensive, with one hip jutting to the side, arms crossed over her chest and eyes ready to roll. And, boy can she roll ’em.
I began to feel that all hope was lost when my son, who was recuperating from pneumonia, started to complain about how tired he was. We were driving home from, nearly, three hours of watching 7th grade volleyball when he said, “I’m so sleepy. My eyelids feel heavy.”
And, whereas a few years ago, my daughter would have said, “Aw, it’s okay buddy. Just close your eyes” (and it’s possible she may have sang him a song) she instead yelled at him and said, “WELL, THEN SHUT THEM!” See? Sweet as pie, that girl. There was no compassion, no appreciation for the fact that he had sat in the stands with his fingers crossed for her every time she served the volleyball.
I wanted my daughter back, because this Cybil in the back seat was not my kid.
I wondered if part of this was my fault. Was I, unknowingly, tossing fuel on the fire? Was she angry because her brother is different? Could this all be caused by hormones? Is it what she’s eating? Maybe she’s not getting enough sleep. Should I take her phone away? Keep her home from the dance this weekend? How could this be fixed?
But, it turned out that my worrying was for naught. My sweet girl is, actually, still in there; because when our family got some bad news…when we found out that my mother-in-law has cancer…my daughter gave her dad a big hug and sincerely apologized for being a crabby mean girl.
When it really mattered, she cared.
And, for a 12 year old, I guess that’s pretty good.