When you sat there on the screened porch, a half hour late for your friend’s birthday party while we debated whether to call a locksmith or continue trying to pick the lock ourselves, you were calm and mature, eerily so, and I waited for you to snap.
“Lily, I can’t believe how calm you are,” I said.
“You should see inside my head. In my head, I am on the floor kicking and screaming,” you said.
Not only are you poised, you are witty. And clever! In the next breath, you said, “Let’s ask Google how to pick a lock,” and you found a YouTube video on my phone.
It was too complicated, and we didn’t have the right tools, but you were patient while we waited for the locksmith we eventually called.
We were an hour and a half late to the party, but you were fine.
You did eventually lose it, but it was about something totally unrelated. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what it was. You stalked away from the other kids, crying behind my car, and I asked you what was wrong. Without poise, without wit this time, you couldn’t articulate it. I, too, lost my cool, and told you to either join the other kids or stand there and cry by yourself. You said, “I’ll cry by myself for awhile.”
Then you pulled yourself together when one of the girls found you and asked you to come play. I spied on you a little while later, and saw you were back in form, directing the others in a talent show you have been coordinating for months. You’ve been compiling music on Spotify, searching the web for costume inspirations, and making PowerPoints to outline the flow of the production.
Dad and I talked about you last weekend as we sat on the front lawn of my grandmother’s house (your great-grandmother’s house) together. “You can teach people to be better leaders, but leadership itself is an inherent trait,” Dad said.
You are 11. One moment the world is all yours. The next, the world is falling apart.
I am lucky to be riding the other side of this seesaw with you.
I’m your mom. I know exactly how awesome you will be when you balance it.