My adult in the making turned 12 earlier this March. Yes, the very last year before she is officially a teen! I asked her to go for a brisk four-mile walk, and she was so excited. I was excited too! What an amazing opportunity to bond. So, I put my 4-year-old in the stroller and the three of us started to walk. The bonding I imagined, never left the imagination stage. My daughter walked ahead of us, and instead of slowing her down, I gave her directions and told her to have fun.
My eyes, surrounded by tall green trees of various shapes and ponds studded with ducks, could not see anything but my young lady’s swift movements. Trees were moved by her confident trajectory, as their leavrs swayed back and forth with her unwavering attitude “I own this world.”
Soon enough, my eyes could only catch her shadow. As the sun departed, her shadow got shorter and shorter. The sun was limiting my view of her! Finally, I arrived with my little one (who did not stop talking) at our parked car. A young, beautiful lady full of accomplishments and relieved to see us was waiting by the car. I asked her if she had fun, she said, “at times, I got worried that I would not find the car.” I looked deep in her eyes and said, “I am sure you would have figured it out.” This was the best bonding moment ever.
To me, the word ‘love’ was not invented by lovers to describe transient passions, but rather by mothers to describe what seems at times as one-sided love for their pre-teen daughters. As desperate as my pre-teen might be to shed her childhood, I am desperately holding on to whatever childish reminders kind moments offer me.
Here is what I wanted to tell her:
You might feel that I am silly at times, and wish I were not. But, I adore you when you are silly, because it reminds me of the child in you. I am so flattered when I see parts of me expressed in the most beautiful manner by you, but what impresses me most about you is how much you are becoming unlike me. Your uniqueness makes you an independent unit, adding to the family instead of duplicating what already existed. Having said all this, I am not your friend and don’t desire to be! Friendships are based on equal memberships, reciprocity and the right to enter and exit.
I want to assure you that when you attempt to push all my buttons, I have no desire to reciprocate, because my focus on how small your hands are and how childish they still look interferes with the ability of your forceful words to push any buttons, except the patience one.
Although some of your friends seem to be situated in the much-coveted place, the chambers of your heart, it is sufficient for me to have once shared the same rhythmic heartbeat with you.
As you change your hair color, ideas and friends, I would like to be recruited as the constant in your ever-changing world. I want to be the past that resides in your mind and obligatorily comes with you everywhere you go, regardless of how profound the changes in your present moment might be. I would like to get promoted from being “just a friend” to a contributor to your evolving mind so it is equipped to sculpt whatever future it dreams of.
I gladly waive all my rights to exit this relationship even in the stormiest of times. I ambitiously hope to remain in this relationship beyond the dissolution of the vessel that temporarily houses my soul.
While I don’t want to be “just a friend” now, I am aiming for something much higher! I am aiming to impress the grown-up who is unfolding in front of me, in ways that only my trained mother eyes could appreciate.
One final thing: I want to confess that the most difficult part of being a parent is discipline. I have to aggregate all my love for you, my strong desire to see you become your very best and not be threatened by my own weaknesses to do that.
My dear adult in the making, in my eyes, the world is a much better place because you exist. I am so confident that your presence in this world will be noticed because of your vigor, perseverance and commitment to the larger good. I am at peace because there are so many like you what a bright future full of potential waiting to be realized by all of you.
The lady stalking you in the park ☺