Monday, August 25, 2008

Twelve

It was Allison's twelfth birthday on Sunday. The festivities were low-key. Taylor coming to spend the weekend. Another trip to Medieval Times. A cake. A couple gifts. She's decided to forgo any kind of large birthday party the last couple years claiming "There's always too much drama." And once again I am amazed at how wise she is, and how much she knows her own mind.

Unfortunately, the last couple years have forced to realize that even she is not immune from insecurities. She came home from school last week confiding that she feels lonely. In one of her classes no one wants to be her partner. She repeatedly asks the girls around her but they say "We're full" and she is left alone to be put with whomever has an empty spot.

"It makes me feel like crying" she confessed in a small voice.

I searched for the words I was supposed to say. Something comforting and parental.
"It's their loss"

"Don't take it personally, Honey. You have lots of friends who love you."

"Everyone feels like this sometimes. Maybe you could look for someone else in your class that might be in the same situation."
When she left with a sigh to go downstairs my stomach was twisted in knots. I would have given so much to spare her the rejection that characterized my own middle school years. To never have her feel unwanted or to wonder if she isn't good enough.

But then, later the same night she confided in me again. Several boys in her class like her. One of them even asked her out. And my stomach did a different kind of flip as I asked her what she said. Concentrating on my voice to keep it casual.

"Ugh! I said NO, Mo-om. Boys my age are all stupid and annoying."

"Oh." I said fighting back a grin. "Well, I hope you weren't mean."

"No. I just told him that I don't date anymore."

Anymore? And I couldn't contain my smile at that. Because the previous dating she was referring to was a "boyfriend" she had for five minutes sometime last year.
~~~~~~~~

I lay in bed last night contemplating this dichotomy. Rejection on one hand. Rejecting on the other. And I suspect this will always be the case for her. She believes so fiercely in her right to be who she is. To like the things that she likes even if no one else does. And reversely she refuses to pretend, or even consider, to be interested in things she's not.

And while I believe overall this is a positive trait, it also gets her into trouble. Other kids find her odd, or immature, or standoffish with all her rules. Even her own friends occasionally get frustrated with her unwillingness to compromise. And I struggle with teaching her the difference between considering others points of views and compromising her own.

Mostly though, I am proud.

Proud of my strong, sensitive, occasionally sassy, twelve-year-old girl who believes in her right to dislike leggings, bikinis, make-up, and pop-music. Who loves hippie clothes and fairy tales, Broadway and I Love Lucy. Who still enjoys playing with dollhouses and dressing-up. Who never wants to have to drive a car but can't wait to wear high-heeled shoes. Who thinks her dad is the perfect guy and wants to marry someone just like him someday.

I love the girl she has become.
And miss the one she used to be.
1999

Happy Birthday to my Sunshine. I can't wait to see what your future holds.

*Note: While Allie is not a typical twelve-year-old in many respects she is still twelve. Which is to say she has started to share Brandon's disdain for everything I do having her life shared on my blog. As a result this will probably be the last introspective Allison post for quite a while. I'm going to try to respect her wishes and stick to just newsy stuff. And maybe a little bragging now and then.

14 comments:

painted maypole said...

she's beautiful, inside and out

Happy Birthday, Allison!

Lori said...

Wow, what an impressive, lovely girl you have there. Good for her.

And, oh, how I hope that I can one day say that Pumpkin loves nothing more than a good musical!

Lisa writes... said...

They grow up fast, that's the truth.

Beck said...

I loved this post. What a beautiful daughter you have.

Chrissy said...

She look so much like you in that photo. So beautiful!

Kathryn said...

What an absolutely lovely girl. Inside and out. I love the self assured girl. Absolutey fabulous! Good for her!

And those other girls are probably jealous! :)

Happy Birthday, Allison!

karen said...

Ross was born in 1999...it's fun to see what you and Allie were up to that year. :) If she ever decides she wants to foster somewhere, she has a home here. I'll even figure out a church and we'll sort it along with hockey for her...the NJ teens will be no less aggravating, but Allie would be exotic!

spaz said...

I can't believe she is twelve already! Wow! I remember babysitting her as an infant. What a sweet baby she was! You guys have done a fabulous job at this parenting thing that is so tough. I look up to you daily for your strength, endurance, and stick-to-it-ive-ness. So many of us cave under pressure but you remain resolved to do the best for your kids, no matter the sacrifice. Thank you for your example. You inspire me.

RAY AND TINA said...

OH, PLEASE TELL ALLIE THAT HER AUNT TINA IS SORRY SHE MISSED HER BIRTHDAY AND DID NOT CALL HER. PLEASE TELL HER I WISH HER A HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING WHO YOU ARE. I THINK THAT IN TODAY'S WORLD AND HOW KIDS HER AGE ARE THAT SHE IS A VERY EXCEPTIONAL YOUNG LADY AND I APPLAUD HER FOR STANDING HER GROUND. LOVE YALL!!!!

the dragonfly said...

What a lovely girl you have.

:)

Kyla said...

Happy birthday, Allie!

When you write about her I always think, I'd like her a lot. She reminds me a bit of my sister in law, personality-wise.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

She is a gift, a treasured portion from God's heart to yours. All of her "fleshing out of identity" now will serve her well in the days to come. I have a feeling that you would agree.

Hi. I'm elaine over from Lisa's blog. She's right. You are a gifted artist, painting richly through your words. I hope to visit often.

peace~elaine

Susanne said...

allison has such a beautiful spirit. if all those kids at school were more like her, the world would be a happier place. i hope that through her teen years she will continue to be herself and not what the world tries to tell her a teenage girl should be. she has such a strong head on her shoulders!!

Anna said...

Hi, I am a blog lurker who does not usually comment -- I had to though because your daughter sounds just like me... anyway it sounds great that you are teaching her about getting along and stuff, I had no one to do that for me, had to learn it the (very) hard way.

Nice to know that there are other people like us in the world.