Friday, May 25, 2012

It Sucks to be Twelve

My youngest is going on a school trip today.  Adventureland in Des Moines, with the middle school orchestra.  I woke up at 5am this morning nervous for her.  How crazy is that?

I don't have any specific reason to be nervous for her -- no specific thing to be nervous about.  It's just that . . . she's at that pre-teen age, you know?  That age when everything is a big deal . . . everything is racked with drama . . . everything has the potential for emotional angst . . . oh, such an icky time of life!  And a full day spent with a bunch of other dramatic, emotional, wound-up pre-teens just seems like a recipe for something going down.

I declined to go along as a chaperone because I'm not all that crazy about amusement parks anyway, and being an adult in charge of said crazy children sounded like a nightmare.  But now I'm kind of wishing I was going, just in case something really does go down, so I'm there to help her deal with it.

I know . . . I know . . . gotta let go.  She's gotta learn to deal with these things herself.  I just have such painful memories of moments of embarrassment and hurt from those years, and watching her live life these days brings back all the pain.  I'd almost forgotten how terrible it feels to be an awkward, insecure pre-teen girl.  Always doing something embarrassing, or afraid of doing it.  Never quite feeling on the "inside" of anything happening around you.  The back and forths, the ups and downs.  I just want to shelter her from it all.  Or at least be there to hug her and tell her it will get better -- it really will, honey. 

In a counseling class I took in grad school, we did a little exercise where we mentally went back to when we were kids.  The professor instructed us to have a "conversation" between our childhood self and our adult self.  That was weird, but enlightening.  I realized that, had my childhood self really been able to meet my adult self, she would have been relieved -- relieved that I wasn't ugly and that I had friends.  My biggest fears as a young girl . . . to be ugly and alone.

Okay, I'm sounding pathetic now!  But I bet every adult reading this can relate.  How horrible are the middle school years!  And really, what good is it to get past them and then have to live them again vicariously through your children?  SIGH.  Life's a cruel game sometimes . . .

1 comment:

Aunt V said...

I use to tell kids all the time some of the hard situations or embarrasing times I had and then we would talk about me now. They realized I lived through it and it could be okay. It was helpful but I am sure they still think we have no idea what they are going through...just like we didn't with adults in our life.
I was fortunate. I think my worst angst in middle school was not having a good friend to do something with...who wasn't talking to me today. That was the worst one.
These are the days I am happy to be the Aunt! :-) You are doing a good job and she is a great girl. This too shall pass.