Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunh. Where'd that come from?

Older Daughter is off to her first school dance tonight.


When we asked her the day before yesterday (when she asked to go) if any of the kids she knows are going, she said, "I dunno." When we asked how she felt about going if she wasn't going to know anyone, she said, "But this way I can meet new people." (Said with that "duh" look that pre-teenagers start mastering early in order to be ready for their teenage years.)

This is the child who, up until very recently, was, to put it mildly, extremely cautious of new activities and people. Who preferred (and frankly, still does prefer many times) to read a book rather than to go out and meet new people. The stories I could tell... Of course, I don't say this in front of her. I don't ask her, "Where's my older daughter and what have you done with her?!" It seems to me that people should be allowed to be who they are, rather than who they were (or who we tell ourselves they were). And she's doing a magnificent job of being who she is right now. And really, I'm having a wonderful time seeing who it is that she's turning out to be; watching her self unfold over the years is a constant source of joy and wonder (and yes, there have been those moments of tension and outright terror, but mostly those other things). If she didn't become new things, if she only turned out to be what I thought she'd be, would I be doing my job as well as I could? Maybe, maybe not. All I can say for sure is that I really enjoy the opportunity to sit back from time to time and watch.

She just headed out, ready to go off and try this new thing. She was still nervous enough to bring a book in the car to read, "So I can calm down." And she's meeting a friend there. But she's going. And she's looking forward to it. Dang girl, I'm proud.


Anonymous said...

That is great, I hope she is having a great time :)

Anonymous said...

What!? Already?

Good girl. (all of you)

Marianne said...

Wow. Indeed!
I know, isn't it great watching them?

Anonymous said...

I hope she has lots of fun :-) It's good that she's comfortable enough with her entire life to try things a little outside of her comfort zone -- it says good things about your parenting!

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I hope she had a blast. Don't they just shock you sometimes? Out of the blue, or so it seems. Probably not at all to them.

Bea said...

I hope she had an excellent time!

Anne said...

I want to know what she had on. (And you know I'm right there with you in this --)

Anonymous said...

Isn't it fun (and a little nerve-wracking) watching our kids growing up.

Anonymous said...

"people should be allowed to be who they are, rather than who they were" - this sums up so much of what I think makes a good parent-offspring relationship. This spirit allows both to grow and change and be appreciated in the today and not the yesterday.

EGunn said...

Wow. That's fast...didn't the school year just start?

My sister is starting middle school this year, and I'm sure we'll be in for some changes, too, though I'll get them all at once at Christmastime.

Hope Older daughter had a wonderful time!

Nana Sadie said...

As well you should be. Proud, that is.
And I'm learning a lesson I should have learned years ago. Let them be themselves.

I tried so hard for so long to make her someone she wasn't (ME).

Amazing she still speaks to me. (She's a darn good musician and I'm really not)

(Thank you...I needed this!) And Older Daughter? YOU GO GIRL!!

the boogeyman's wife said...

i remember the first school dance in 7th grade. the nerves, trying to pick out something pretty (in short abundance with handmedowns and 6 brothers), worrying about people liking me etc. and then my mom forgot and went grocery shopping for hours. by the time she was back, the dance was half over. she drove me to the school and i felt so embarrassed just sitting in the car - there was no way i was going in there. we finally went home, but i still remember that tangle of emotions. i'm glad your daughter had a good time, and that you're wise enough to take her growth in stride and let her become herself.

Lynne said...

Parenting certainly is an interesting experience.
I'm trying not to think about the next phase with 'the' wedding looming in nineteen weeks! [but who's counting?]