Friday, April 24, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Conversations with my Daughter

Lately I have been having a lot of conversations with my 10-year-old daughter that I never could have imagined. I don't mean "the talk," we had that last year when she was 9 after she saw "the movie" at school. I explained the ins and outs, pun intended, she was appropriately disgusted and then mortified when she put two and two together (Mom & Dad) and asked a few innocent questions like Do you have to do that every time you want a baby?

Recently we have been talking about all sorts of other thing. Like what it is to be Gay. When I was 10, I don't remember knowing what Gay was - and I certainly would have never talked to my mom about it. But my daughter comes home and tells me there is a girly-boy in her class who is "sooo gaaay." How am I supposed to respond to this? Well, I use the best Seinfeld line ever written..."Not that there's anything wrong with that" and explain to her that we are all different and free to love who we want, and that we can't assign behaviors to be strictly for girls or boys. Very politically correct. I was proud of myself for that one - and it is what I truly believe.

Another day she comes home and starts talking about the "Emo" kids in her class. Emo? I ask. Yes mom in an exasperated tone, Emo - well I want to know, what exactly does that mean - it means they dress goth (I know what that is) but they are cutters, you know like so EMOTIONAL. Oh, okay. I am learning everyday.

This week she comes home and tells me a girl in her class "went suicidal." I asked her now what does that mean - I am thinking maybe she flipped out in class or went a little crazy. No, a girl in her class, in the fifth grade, tried to commit suicide. How do I respond to that? What could be so horrible at 10-years-old that you no longer wish to live? We talked for a long time about it- and she keeps bringing it up - and I know this is something she is trying to process. I am sad for the girl and for her family, but I am sad for my little girl too. The world is spinning so fast that our sons and daughters are not allowed to be kids anymore. We over schedule them to keep them off the streets and safe, we rush around trying to get it all done, we make ourselves crazy doing everything for our kids because at the end of the day, most of us want the same thing. Happy, healthy, kids. But something is going on in this world where are kids are growing up too fast and knowing too much.

When Mae was 2 she got a Fisher Price Loving Family Doll House from Santa. She loved this doll house and played with it for hours. Her sister came along a few years later and they played with it together. The girls have stopped playing with the doll house and told me I could get rid of it - that it was taking up too much room. I asked around to see if anyone wanted a doll house and had no takers so yesterday I put it out on the curb hoping that before the garbage men came, someone would stop and take it. No one stopped. Putting that doll house out was very hard for me and I cried over it - I felt like I was losing a friend - or maybe that my daughters were losing that time when playing with dolls was all that really mattered.

My two cents: I think it's us that lose something..they move on and we lose the little girls we love. But little girls grow up to be big girls and you get new things to fill your heart. Watching them become confident and independent and seeing in them the person you had wished you had been at their age, can make your heart overflow. But watching that doll house go in the garbage truck is probably not something a mom should watch. I hope you didn't. xo ~C

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