(Picture courtesy : cafepress.com via Google)
Egad !! We will have our very own teen in about 7 hours and a few minutes !! Ah Ha !! You’re not officially a teen yet. You will be one – at 3.25 pm (Indian Standard Time). See how I’m desperately trying to hold on to your babyhood !!! :-)
Alright, getting down to the basics J. Aps, this is that time of the year yet again when I stare wistfully at time zipping past and I wonder where it flies to. Thirteen years back, I vividly remember that moment when the nurses handed me a bundle which had two arms, two legs, ten perfect tiny fingers and ten perfect tiny toes – not to mention a pair of huge eyes that were wide open and a beautifully bald head (well, almost !!). There ! Just like that !! My heart walked out of my body and was yours – that very instant. A part of me though, was thoroughly petrified. I was scared out of my daylights, for, I simply did not know what to do with that tiny little vociferous bundle in my arms. The thought that we (me and daddy) were now actually responsible for bringing up a life was thoroughly terrifying.
Thirteen years have flown past and you are, today, officially, at one of the most important crossroads of life. Thirteen, it is often said, is that threshold between being a girl and a young lady. You’ve changed – oh yes ! you have !! Who would know this better than us, who share your life and us, who share our lives with you – day in and day out.
I found myself looking at the family picture that I have on my phone as a wallpaper. Think it had been taken a couple of years back and I could not help but marvel at the changes in you. Gone are those chubby cheeks, which have been replaced with a chiselled face – with features and a strong character of its own. Gone is that wavy hair which has been replaced by these silky straight tresses that I openly admire. Gone is that tentative look in your eyes as you tried to figure out whether to step forward or not to and in its place what I see now is a newfound confidence in yourself and your ability to deal with situations, as they arise. Gone is the self-doubt that used to cloud your lovely eyes more often than we would have liked it to and in its place what I see very often now is a steely determination – to fight the odds and try and conquer them. Good on you, Aparna . Good on you !
It’s hard to believe that it’s just five more years before you hit college / university and the possibility being very strong that it would be some place halfway around this globe. The thought is exciting on the one hand because it would open up a whole new world for you but at the same time, a bit unsettling too, truth be told. So we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it !!
Right now, for you, life is all about choices. It is scary but it is time to embrace them as well. I know you will – in your own inimitable way and if you need help along the way – I know I don’t need to say it but I’ll say it any way – we are always here for you.
When I see you nowadays, the thought that strikes me is just this – you do know a lot more about life and its ways than you did a couple of years back yet there are so many things that you still don’t. Life, it is often said, is a great teacher and it decides to teach you lots of things along the way. It does ! You are still innocent enough to “not know” when someone is not being completely honest with you but that bit comes with experience.
As you discover “true friends” and learn to distinguish them from the “conniving ones”, there may be times when you’ll still get hurt and truth be told, I’ve never ever been good at watching you get hurt. When something or someone hurts you, you hurt, yes but we, as your parents who have to stand and watch you getting hurt (because life sometimes teaches people lessons the hard way), is doubly painful. We’ve been down this road before when you were in Primary School but what I would like you to take away from those painful memories of being bullied is the fact that it has made you a much stronger person, it has helped you evolve into a much tougher and a much more resilient individual.
As girls step into the “young lady” stage in life, the word “boys” usually takes on a totally different connotation J. Am not completely sure I’m ready for that yet. For that matter, I honestly don’t know if you are, either J.
There have been numerous times when we’ve stepped and trodden on each others’ toes and feet over the past couple of years. Though our relationship is on a much more even keel now there will be times in the future when I might intervene (what you might construe as an intrusion) and step on your toes. Do be patient with me then, for I too am learning to be a mom to a teen. Yes, I’ve been a teen before (though that was a completely different story) but never before have I been a mom to a teen. Now that is a different cup of tea, altogether. Even on days when we turn on each other, when we have our “stare each other in the eyes and dare each other to give up first” moments, on days when I give you a good piece of my mind (Oh yes – those days aren’t over yet) I hope you do remember that whatever we do, we do with the best of your interest in our hearts. I hope you hang on to that, especially on days when I’m being hard on you.
I love the time we spend shopping together. Not only is it fun but it is when I see facets of you (just as I’m sure you see crazy facets of me !) that I’ve never seen before. That day when we spent a hour and a half in the perfume store still beings a huge smile to my face. It was time well spent together and added bonus – the boys had to wait outside the store for us !! You know what, let’s do that more often !!! Oh that said, you are most welcome to spray my perfumes away to oblivion. What ? You think I’ve not noticed the rate at which my Gucci Envy Me and the Elizabeth Arden and many others have gone down a few centimeters ?? Seriously ?? Well, spray away, young lady. Perfumes are an integral part of a woman’s wardrobe and you are most welcome to mine.
I hope and pray today, as I do every single day, that you see yourself the way I see you – kind, compassionate, creative, not –very-patient J, graceful, sure, strong, confident, crazy funny (what – did you not know that you are indeed a riot ?), gentle and passionate about your true friends and about what you do.
While you have officially finished your childhood, in terms of the numbers, don’t quite run away from it. Keep that little child in your heart alive and kicking, now and for ever. Don’t rush into being a grown up. I’d say be thirteen for a good while – maybe about a year or so J and then you can go on to being fourteen J. Life is a lovely journey, albeit with a few bumps along the way. Enjoy it, for life is indeed a great ride, speed bumps and all included.
Yes – I’ve not officially admitted this so far. I’ve always ribbed you about this. I’ve always accepted this – but in jest – whilst crouching down. But today, I officially admit that you are indeed taller than me. Yes, you are ! As I say that, I stand tall and I stand proud. Proud of what you are today, of what you have made of yourself as you stand at this crossroad in your life.
With all my love and then some,