This is a flashback to 2004. It's a week before my daughter's 13th birthday, and she's suddenly decided that she doesn't want to grow up. This is what she tells me, this is what she says. I call that poor timing at its best. What's a mother to do? I'll tell you. Every night I lie down next to her on her bed (her in her pajamas under the covers, me in my clothes on top of the comforter) and tell her not to worry, that no one really ever grows up (look at me for instance), that she's got years and years left to be just a kid. OK so maybe I'm stretching the truth. Alright, you got me. I'm lying.
But that's what parents are supposed to do, right? Tell lies in the service of the truth? The truth is she is growing up and her days of carefree kid-dom are coming to a close. The truth is there is nothing anyone can do about it. Growing up just happens.
But the truth is also that growing up is grand. That life is a continuous learning curve and we can't see around the bend. Ever. We can see where we've been and where we are but we can only guess where we're going. And our guess is usually wrong.
I want to tell her all of this, that life is an adventure, a mystery, a song. But she's at the eye rolling stage. That age when no matter what you say, no matter how profound or funny or wise your insights are, your guaranteed response is a sigh and an eye-roll, punctuated by those classic words, "Oh Mom." Mom said as a three syllable word.