I was warned it would happen. Inevitable, I was told. Like death and taxes–prepare for it. Yet, foolishly, I clung to the desperate hope that I would be spared. This morning, as I consider the swirling clouds in my coffee cup, I realize that what I feared has come to pass.

My daughter has become a teenager.

Oh, it’s not just the sudden surliness from a young lady who’s normally cheerful; a girl who continued to draw smiley faces on the sun and all the people in every piece of art she created during the breakup of her parents’ marriage.

It isn’t simply the transformation of a cheerful kid who gets up two hours before the school bus arrives to allow plenty of time for breakfast with her dad into a morose cave troll who has to be pulled from bed and pushed out the door.

And it’s more than the morphing of a bright, intelligent person into one who seems to be conscious only in some other space/time continuum.

It’s the change I see when I look at her and realize that she is, physically, mentally, and emotionally, a beautiful young woman; no longer a child who needs me to hold her hand in public and tuck her into bed at night.

And I think of the Mel Gibson line from “Signs”, as he struggles to bar the last door between his family and the aliens outside: “I’m not ready.”

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