” What is past and cannot be prevented should not be grieved for. “

30 Mar

In McDick’s, a simple supper with my youngest, french fries and crushed mangled chicken. I look up, a riot of color and sound and stuff.

14. Remember 14? Normal 14-not “advanced” 14, not “I have boobs and I can use them” 14 but average, developing, caught between teenager and child 14. Wild hair, unstyled. New band shirts, tight jeans, friendship bracelets.

They likely aren’t popular. They have the right clothes, but the wrong bodies, the wrong, difficult hair. They’re gawky, yet to grow into their bodies, the foreign things that hang from them. They miss simpler times, times they can remember vividly now, but which fade a little more everyday. They aren’t popular, never were, likely never will be. They don’t much care, since they have each other.

Or perhaps I’m imposing my childhood on theirs.

That age, all arms and legs and lips and feelings you can’t place or you can but know you shouldn’t, when you make bad decisions but somehow they don’t cost you as much as they might in a few years. That age when lip gloss and barbies and bleu nuit all make sense together with giggling sleepovers and someone’s father’s Hustlers.

Your last gasp at not being accountable. Your last year at shrugging off the world around you.

It felt like I couldn’t stop staring at them, at their laughter, struggles through a giant purse they didn’t need, missteps, forgotten drinks. It was almost as if I was staring through a window into my past, but without the awkwardness, or perhaps, unlike me, they had learned how to cover that up, or never felt it to begin with, the oddity of sudden womanhood.

I stared at my small daughter, so removed from all of that. Chewing slowly, fingering her newest Princess toy, testing it’s limits.

I will be there for her, at this age, at that age. I will be there. She will not grow up alone, wondering what it means to be a woman, what her breasts mean, why the hair is growing mainly…not on the plain, but everywhere.

Why it’s ok to be gentle. Why the tree bends so it does not break. I will be there to explain, if nothing else, why you wash the band shirt a few times before wearing it.

The ghosts of my past still haunt me. They lounge around, waiting for breaks in time such as this. But they don’t hurt so much anymore. Now, now they serve as gentle reminders of what I’ve lost, and what I stand to gain.

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11 Responses to “” What is past and cannot be prevented should not be grieved for. “”

  1. sweetsalty kate March 30, 2008 at 8:39 pm #

    beautiful, thor.

  2. Mrs. Chicken March 30, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    Oh wow, this was really amazing.

  3. the end of motherhood March 30, 2008 at 11:16 pm #

    One of the real challenges of parenting is knowing the difference between our childhood and our children’s. I mix them up on a regular basis.

  4. marcelarhodus March 31, 2008 at 12:36 am #

    the key words are “… and what I stand to gain”

    while reading I could almost place myself in your position as I’ve had those kind of encounters and I too almost find it impossible not to stare.
    I just love the way I always find “universal feelings” in your words.

  5. jen March 31, 2008 at 1:03 am #

    this was truly beautiful.

  6. Bon March 31, 2008 at 9:02 am #

    oh sniff, Thor.

  7. Hannah March 31, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    When I see teenagers I’m always torn between gently laughing to myself and shedding a tear for the person I used to be. These days when I see teenaged boys, I look at Isaac and wonder how I will be there for him, when they were a mystery to me then and are still a mystery to me now.

    This post even managed to make the chicken nuggets sound good. Beautiful.

  8. Missy March 31, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    Such a charming reflection.

    Living with so many teenagers right now (yeah, you can all feel sorry for me–I’ve got three going on four) I’m always amazed at the sheer life force they exude. And I so relate to their struggles and disappointments; their self-consciousness even while trying not to appear so.

  9. Jenn March 31, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    Oh teenagers. How they get under my skin. Mainly because I remember being that age and all the emotional, hormonal imbalances. Doing whatever it takes to try and fit in, laughing at people for their “faults” or what all your friends point out as their “faults”. That forever desire for others to notice me. attaching my Cd player to small speakers rather than headphones so the people around me can hear the “cool” music I listened to, and not necessarily liking it all that much myself. Feeling like a stranger in my body and my mind. Thinking all my friends were so much more attractive than I was, wanting to be anyone but me. The loud abnoxiousness.
    the teehee of young ladies when a young guy looks their way, “isnt he cute?” Little girls giggling about all of their new found knowledge of the world of sex and what they do, have done and me hoping it is all just talk. Hoping the girls are giggling just for the sheer embarasment of the words escaping their mouths, and trying to make that embarrasement look cool.
    I remember having the same conversations and not really being mature enough to really know what I was talking about, in a lot of ways I hope it is the same today and not what I fear is trouth. Children are not children anymore, I fear that transition into womanhood is stepping away from the doll house and directly into their too old for them boyfirends room. With too many parents to busy to notice.
    Thor it is so good to hear that you will be there, to teach your daughter. Self worth and self esteem, just being there and open and honest, give the tools for a proper assention into the adult world.

  10. Jen March 31, 2008 at 12:27 pm #

    This really is lovely.

  11. bine March 31, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    sometimes i wonder why i react this way to teenagers like that. my friend (my age) is a teacher and a mother. when she sees a group like that, she sees them through her eyes, as noisy, rude, unruly. when i look at them, i remember that i was that way when i was a teen, and how i felt, insecure, emotional, awkward.
    why do so many of us forget how it is to be a teenager? there was a time when i thought that motherhood changed your view on that. but that can’t be, because you too remember how it was too.

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