Happy b-day to my favorite tall, slender, pale, whispy blonde high school fashionista. A sporadic reader of the blog, right now she’s completely unplugged at church camp near the Canadian border. That means I can call her “pale” and write whatever I want.
I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help myself. Right before she ceremonially set her phone on the kitchen counter and departed for camp I naively asked, “What are you going to miss more, your cell phone or me?” Hope she doesn’t mind if I assume her on-line identity and jump right in to her friends’ texting torrent. Maybe I should update her Facebook page for her.
I’ve always been skeptical of conventional wisdom about teens. Yes, there’s her post-Katrina bedroom, shrugs and grunts over breakfast, and occasional attitude, but the big-picture parenting challenge is to remember that’s superficial stuff.
Scratch below the surface and ask her about her faith, the death penalty, her surviving middle school, her desire to live in another country by herself after college, the five (soon to be six) kids she regularly babysits, or her desire to someday have her own medium-large family.
She’s blossoming into an increasingly competent, thoughtful young woman with nice friends with whom she can be her quirky self. For instance, how many Sixteens rank their friends’ driving? To move up the list she advises, “Don’t be oblivious or careless.” Words to live by.
When it comes to 16, I’m proud of a lot of things including her work with young children and her remembering, when it comes to peer relations, what it feels like to be on the outside looking in.
Watching her blossom is a great joy.