I am cleaning up her room so we can redecorate it as a Christmas present. I’m sorting through her clothes and books for things that don’t fit or suit her any more than do the pale pink walls and kitten-themed quilt on her bed.
Same as me, she leaves her private journals strewn about in plain sight. I wonder what she’s written there, and how much of it is an indictment of my parenting skills verses boys she is crushing on. I wonder if my mother wondered the same about me at these ages – me at 12 going on 25, she at some spot in her 30s I couldn’t be bothered to keep straight. I do remember writing something like, “When I am a mom, I will NOT do these things…”
And I made a list I’m sure I’ve betrayed.
Her bulletin board is tacked with swim medals and dream catchers made in summer camps she doesn’t want to attend anymore, and also writing by me, for her.
The meaning she assigns her favorite objects: I wonder how different it is from what I’ve assigned those things, or if she’s assigned any such meaning at all. I wonder how annoyed she’d be if she knew I was in her room at all, much less thinking about her things.
Last week she told me she didn’t want to spend Christmas with me, then she begged me to take her Christmas shopping.
Cleaning out her closet, I found two of my dresses and a pair of my heels.
The other morning, she asked me to french braid her hair for school. I don’t french braid, but I tried. She scowled and rearranged it into a ponytail, then complained that we were going to be late, then freaked out upon realizing we’d be further delayed by me having to scrape the ice from the windshield. “I will be late and they won’t let me take my midterm!”
She shouted it was my fault, I shouted louder that it was hers, and we arrived at school – on time and unspeaking.
I called my mother and asked how long and frustrating this phase of our lives would be, and Mom and I talked for an hour.
I love-love her, like you like-like certain boys at her age: beyond the day-to-day and with bittersweetness.
Tomorrow she’ll be someone else I’ll love just as much.