Take Me Back Tuesday - Installment #3

Happy birthday!

Today my oldest daughter turns twelve. Twelve.  One year before the teen years, the crying about hair, boys, and clothes, whining that she can't see this, read that, listen to what "everyone else gets to listen to, Mom".  (Oh wait. She does pretty much all of that now, just not the boy part.)  So I figured it would be appropriate to blog about her birthday today, considering it's Take Me Back Tuesday and all.

Twelve years ago my life changed forever.  I was nineteen, married, and done with being pregnant.  My labor sucked (back labor - if you've had it you know what I'm talking about), and after not sleeping for three nights straight I was brain dead and barely able to fight the pain.  But I made it, we made it, and this kid was born - born to two parents who had no clue just how much their lives were going to change in the next few years.

I have friends, know people, who want babies, think about babies, hold them and say "I miss this stage."  I don't get it.  I don't feel that way at all.  Could it be due to the fact that my girls were all born in less than three years, that they're quick to fight and tattle and break things, and that I will never, no matter how much time goes by, forget how I lost my sanity for a few years there when they were little? Sure. But another reason I don't feel the twinge, that "my biological clock is ticking, I'm 31 and need to have another kid!" feeling, is that I truly enjoy the age they're in.  

I love talking and laughing at the dinner table, our inside jokes about things that know one else knows about.  I appreciate our conversations, real conversations, not explaining why the sky is blue twenty thousand times.  I love to watch them stick up for each other when times are tough, and shoot each other down (in a loving, funny way) when they're at home.  And ratting each other out?  It's the best.  Hilarious.  Just last night they made the rounds, explaining what each other had done, tattling on so and so for saying this or that.  The necessary reprimands were made, and yet, the five of us were laughing like crazy.

The phrase "Kids say the darndest things" means more to me now than ever.  They crack me up with their quick wit and superfluous explanations.  I can't imagine going back to the point where a baby cries, eats all day and doesn't laugh at my jokes or roll its eyes and say "You're such a dork, Mom.".  That's one of the things I love most right now - their reactions to me, my reactions to them, with my oldest especially.  

I love knowing that even though I'm screaming they're grounded or saying "Stop talking to me like that, I'm your Mother!" there's no question in their minds that it's because I love them.  When they clean up a room to be sweet that's exactly what they're doing - being sweet.  When they offer to make dessert, they're doing it because they know I'm tired, and they care enough to do something for me.  And when we laugh in the car at someone strange walking down the street or singing loud like someone on American Idol, we're being ourselves, our family. You can't do any of those things with a baby.  Don't get me wrong - babies are cute, adorable, and cuddly. They have the softest little buns, the squishiest thighs, the sweetest smell ever.  It's not that I don't love them.  But I wouldn't give this age up for anything.  

I'm sure things will change over the next year, and my oldest will call me a dork even more often than she already does.  Maybe I'll start embarrassing her (more than usual), start dressing out of fashion all of a sudden (in her eyes), and have to drop her off without getting out because she won't want me to walk her to the door anymore.  Maybe she'll stop talking to me about the stuff she's going through, even.  Only time will tell.    

Regardless of what the next year holds, I'm going to enjoy this age with my twelve year old daughter.  I won't enjoy the fights or the bossiness, the trying to distract me from chastising her by repeatedly cracking jokes  (which I do usually laugh at, I'll admit), and I especially won't appreciate the fits about bad hair days or not having enough of the right kind of clothes.  That's okay though.  It goes with the territory - love is love.  

Is it 12:55 yet?  Oh well.  I might as well say it now.  Happy birthday daughter.


Unknown said...

If you come from my family, "you're such a dork" is usually a very fond endearment. :p Love the cat pic!

DL Hammons said...

That was special! Your daughters are very lucky.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I agree with you. I am enjoying my kids (13, 8, and 5 1/2) now more than ever. I think whatever else we may do as parents, it's important to cherish each of their life stages while they are in them. Happy b-day to your lucky girl. :-)

John Ettorre said...

Wonderful stuff, Jessica. You sound like the kind of mom everyone should have. The kind who creates an atmosphere where everyone wants to be. That's a rare gift.

Susie Talbot said...

It's such a joy to read how much fun you have with your girls. It really is a very SHORT time that mom gets that much say in their lives, although grown-up children are great too, and then grands...well there's nothing like their little wet kisses!

jdsanc said...

Jessica, I'm going to show my kids this post. It is exactly why we don't watch tv during dinner, most days. I absolutely love my 13 and 15 year olds and all their thoughts about the world. I love that they can cut my explanation of why the sky is blue with something that shoots my mashed potatoes all over them and then we all fall off our chairs laughing about it. But I do still miss the babies, too. Don't think I'll ever get over that one, till they give me one. Sounds like you are living the dream, and I so enjoyed reading about it!

Anita said...

My daughters are 14, 11, and 9, so I can totally relate to what you've just described. Thanks for reminding me that "it's all good."

Ps. Be careful...31 is still ripe! Nowhere near dead...unless, well...you know. :)

Anita said...

I'm speaking of your "parts," not your whole self.
Just in case I confused you. :)