Our oldest just celebrated her thirteenth birthday, which means that we just celebrated our thirteenth year of successful parenting. Yay, us! And if I'm being honest, which is kind of the point of writing through one's feelings, I'd like to hang up my parenting hat.
I mean. Thirteen years is a long time to commit to something, right? I've never done ANYTHING consistently for thirteen years. I feel like we've got a pretty good product, she's doing fairly well for herself, I'm quite satisfied with a job well done.
Parents are really good about warning other parents about "what's next." Sometimes it's discouraging, and sometimes it's super helpful. Sometimes it's contradictory - Two is really hard, No wait til they're THREE - but everyone seems to be in agreement that Thirteen is one of the Seven Circles of Hell.
So, right when you're feeling pretty good about getting the training wheels off and pushing this little person to maturity and you're ready to coast...there's a steep incline and a dramatic gear shift. You get to the last mile and there's a hill on the course.
And it's a weird thing, because it's not that they require more of you - it's that they require less, but what they do require is something they really need: YOU. And for ME, this is proving to be more than I was prepared for.
Control is a big thing for me. I have a Big Mama side that has ruled the roost for the last thirteen years and honestly, she's pretty badass. (sorry for saying badass, mom) Big Mama has enforced bedtimes as if the earth's rotation depended on little eyes being shut on time. Big Mama has leveraged play dates, canceled sleepovers, taken sweets away for weeks at a time. And let me tell you, Big Mama is good at what she does. But her days are numbered - or over - (until A Boy shows up) and I'm here now figuring out who it is that takes her place, because right now, I don't have a clue.
My best friend keeps reminding me that this young woman living in my house is temporarily insane, so I suppose I should find Big Therapist somewhere in there. But then this kid is also delightful and funny, so Big Friend might be nice. Most days it feels like all she needs is Big Chauffer and Big Shopper, which makes me feel like Big Doormat.
So, pray for a sister, wouldya? It's not that I wasn't warned - it's that I wasn't expecting it to happen overnight...and I wasn't prepared for my role to be written out of the script and replaced with all of these swing parts. I'm not quite ready to share my adulthood with her. It's pretty overwhelming.