Having a tween in your home can be a tricky, challenging and zany thing. This is no news flash, I realize that. You are watching something grow and bloom before your very eyes, like one of those rapid-speed videos. New directions are forged with each passing day. And lord knows, we all remember what it was like to be a tween-the trials and tribulations, drama, mood swings, silliness, the stretching of one’s wings and feeling of one’s oats-that whole, glorious enchilada. How sad is it that I’m old enough to say I was a tween before the term “tween” existed? Sigh.
And now we have words like “twerk”. Oh my.
When I became the Mom of my two girls, I vowed many things, but amongst the ever-expanding list, these have stood out this summer:
-That I would be a fun mom, but still a Mom who is in charge
-I have to learn how to give them the space that they need, despite the fact that for the past 11 years I’ve done everything in my power to keep them closely by my side. Also, having to “stifle”, as Archie Bunker would say to Edith, is a sometimes difficult challenge but one that must occur at points
-That they would know they could run to me at any time of the day and under any circumstance
-Rules which I will not waiver on: if it’s too short, trashy or cheap, you are not leaving the house wearing it. Conversely, if anyone of another gender comes to the door and their pants are hanging off of their behinds, they are not entering said house, even if they are Rhodes scholars. I’m hoping that Rhodes scholars know how to dress.
-When she says that “tomorrow, I think I’d like to wear a little mascara to school” (which she did the other day and made me almost drive off the road), you smile, let her know that you’ll show her the right way to put it on and then remember, remember, remember that this is precisely the age when you started wearing a little makeup to school, too. In my eyes, I see a toddler sitting next to me in the car (rear-facing car seat in the back seat, of course, 25-point harness in place) but in reality, this is a young woman.
-That I would converse with them on any and all subjects and let them see that it’s ok to talk about it all, no matter how squishy, embarrassing or even bizarre (enter: virtually any conversation about body parts of reproductive capabilities)
-That I would grow into the type of Mom that will dance at their wedding to songs that are completely not of “my generation” and have a great time doing it (and somehow even look cool doing it)
The List, of course, keeps growing exponentially and running in all directions, like one of those invasive kudzu vines.
I heard something yesterday on NPR that resonated with me. It is something that President Obama said during his speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington. He said that we must not turn against each other, but towards each other. I love those words. And weirdly enough, I thought that they seem to apply to dealing with tweens, too, in addition to all other races and creeds. Just when you feel like you want to turn away and run screaming from the room (or send someone else out of the room), maybe instead, it would be better to turn towards them.
I like this thought.
Have a great holiday weekend, everyone. Take the time to turn towards others today, not away from them. Be they this color, that color, this religion, that religion…or tween.