My Beautiful Wickedness

Reading old journals with my daughter
December 1, 2008, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Kid will be ten years old in a couple of weeks. There are days when it’s like someone flipped a switch that said “Puberty GO!” because she’s all seething overreaction, drama, and tears. And then, shaken at herself, she crawls up close for a little girl hug. The tide is turning, and before long, she’ll be sailing on a trackless sea.

I’ve been in a nostalgic mood of late and I dug out old journals that I kept when she was less than a year old. We read them together tonight, just so she could get a sense of the depth of our connection, those early love scenes that occurred offstage from her conscious mind. I also dug out my yearbooks and pictures from when I was her age. I want her to know that not only were we once a part of the same body, but that I came from a place every bit as confusing as the place she’s in now and it turns out ok. My math teacher in 6th grade was a psychopath. Here is the girl who made fun of my shoes. Here is the boy I knocked down for threatening the retards in the lunch line. She laughs at the strange haircuts, the huge owlish glasses and feathered hair. Some of the people in the pictures are now dead. I tell her about them — he became a submarine sailor who died on a rainy night in North Carolina when a drunk driver plowed into his car, she dropped dead of a heart attack while dancing in her husband’s arms at a cousin’s wedding. Don’t take these days of smiling for granted because they will end. There are marginal notes in some of the yearbooks. “Married, dropped out.” “Pregnant, dropped out.” “Married? Dropped out anyhow.” I note that all the girls had to take a course called “Family Living: Preparation for Marriage” and show her the picture of the mock wedding. She says no wonder so many girls left school before graduating; that was what they were preparing you for.

She is being prepared to sail away whereever her little boat can take her. I just am trying to give her some stars to navigate by.


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Sounds like you’re a great mom, Bridgett. I sometimes wonder how much easier my own adolescence might have been if my mom had sat me down and said, “You know what? Everybody goes through what you’re going through. It’s normal.”

Then again, maybe she DID say it, and I just said “Mooooooommmmm!” and flounced away. 🙂

Comment by RockyCat

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