Megan turned twelve yesterday.
Mom and dad did our best to suppress saying, “Holy cow. How has it been 12 years? You were just a baby yesterday?!?!!?” Of course, that’s what we were thinking. But such nostalgia is pre-teen uncool.
We’ve asked Megan what she wanted and what she wanted to do with her birthday for weeks. I’d define her response as ambivalent. But Kristen and I took it as a challenge… “Why are you asking me what I want for my birthday, you should know.”
We thought about the things most twelve year old girls seem to be into: Clothes, cell phones, and the pop star du jour. Those are almost laughable when thinking about Megan. She’s not into clothes, none of her friends have a cell phone, and she can’t stand One Direction.
We got her a few simple gifts. Things like a new bike helmet, a dress in her favorite color, and a big jar of Nutella from Paul. We’re also into experiences… so Kristen, Megan, and Paul did the Jungle Ropes course at the San Diego Safari Park. (Which looked like fun. I entertained Jackson while they did that.)
Later, we had a nice dinner outside on the patio followed by an amazing homemade ice cream cake featuring layers of Oreo & fudge sandwiched between vanilla ice cream. Last… we watched the 14 hour Survivor finale before finally crashing at about 11.
Seemed like a good twelfth birthday to me.
The Year to Come
In some ways, yesterday was holding onto something we may look back on as simple times. The Autumn of childhood is giving way to the dawning of adolescence.
We’re all looking forward to this transition. (We repeat that often, trying to convince ourselves.) Being twelve is awesome. But when you are 12 you want to be 13. And when you’re 13 you want to be 17. We know that as she deals with new things the biggest challenge for us will be adapting our parenting. And we’re preparing ourselves for everything to get just a little more complicated.
But for now she’s holding on. You can see it as she pairs down some of the kid toys but holds on to artifacts. She wants to read books about fairies and adventure… but those books are getting too easy, too. She loves the kids program at church but is excited to go to the middle school youth group.
And for now we’re holding on. We know the sun is setting on her childhood. But we’ll make the most of one more summer of splashing in the waves with mom and dad, building castles in with Paul and Jackson, and sitting down to giggle together watching America’s Funniest Videos and Wipeout.
We’re not quoting Robert Frost, just yet.
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