My girl is 13 today. I am the mother of a teenager. Someone please hold my purse while I take a long pull from a stiff drink.
Before I gave birth to her, I had big plans to leave the hospital dressed in the cute outfit I had pre-selected with blown out hair and a little makeup to make myself look presentable. But 24 hours after the utter shock and awe of labor and delivery and all that comes with having a human being pulled from your body—including zero winks of sleep for 48 hours—that mission was aborted.
Instead, I plopped myself in that departing wheel-chariot dressed in a pair of huge gray Nike sweatpants that said OREGON across the booty (and partially exposed my mesh undies because in 2006 we were still wearing the stupid low riders), a light pink nursing pajama top stretched over my huge boobs, a pair of untied tennis shoes on my sausage feet and a head of ratty, greasy hair on which you could have fried a dozen chicken wings.
I was blindsided by new motherhood. I was panic stricken over my new job title. I didn’t think I could do it. I looked and felt like I had been hit head-on by a truck which then immediately backed over me. It wasn’t pretty. The inside or the out.
Well I’m here to tell you: thirteen is the return of the Mack.
Just when you think the hardest stuff is in your review mirror because you can sleep in on the weekends and read books poolside without worrying about anyone drowning, think again. BAM. Thirteen hits you right in the mouth.
Today might officially be her first day of being thirteen, but trust me when I tell you, “thirteen” doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a state of being that develops in middle school and we’ve been parked here for a minute.
Sometimes I still feel like I can’t do it. On some days, thirteen has me right back in that wheelchair feeling like that drained, exhausted, clueless, brand new mom all over again (minus the low rise pants because of my current muffin top situation).
Thirteen is a a shit show of wild emotions, a clash of wills, mind boggling irrationality and what seems like some sort of hormonal psychosis. She is the star and we are the supporting cast. God help us.
But you know what? Thirteen is also looking through the peephole at her future. It’s getting a glimpse of what she will become.
She’s as stubborn as a mule, but she knows exactly what she wants and she goes after it.
She’s a real bossy britches, but she’s not going to let anyone push her around.
She’s as loud as a freight train and suffers from severe voice immodulation, but there’s no mistaking what she has to say.
She usually looks like a hobo and I suspect rats have taken up residence in her hair, but she couldn’t care less about what other people think of her appearance.
She NEVER. STOPS. TALKING, but she’s confiding in me.
She’s as argumentative as the day is long, but she’ll stand up for what she believes is right.
Her backpack looks like the bottom of a rotten city dumpster, but there’s a method to her madness and she’s a self-motivated, straight A student.
She’s super opinionated, but she possesses strong faith and convictions.
She’s fiercely independent and shuts me out at times, but she rightfully owns all of her accomplishments.
She’s a bull in a China shop with her almost 6 foot wingspan and size 12 flippers so put away your breakables when you see her coming, but she’s free spirited, carefree and has a positive body image.
Really, she’s becoming everything I ever hoped for right before my eyes: a smart, confident, driven, principled, kind, happy, secure, independent, God fearing young lady. I’m very proud of who she is so I’ll grit my teeth and embrace it all: the good, the bad and the holy-shit-who-is-this-kid?
But she may just drive me to drink while I’m hanging on for dear life.
So, cheers to thirteen.