This column was launched a little more than five years ago with a story about back-to-school shopping with my family, and witnessing our daughter’s transition from a little girl who once loved Tinkerbell and Dora the Explorer to a big girl who wanted a messenger bag instead of a backpack, and clothes with cartoons of skulls, electric guitars and other “tween” prints.
In a few short weeks, she’ll turn 13. (I’m not sure how that’s possible, especially since I’ve stayed, uh, 27 for practically a decade.)
She’s still a few inches shorter than me, but she’s growing up. Her new shoes are a half-size larger than mine. People always confuse our voices on the phone. And I think if I stuck to a low-carb diet for a few weeks, I could probably squeeze into a pair of her jeans and have one of those triumphant moments that every mom with a teenage daughter secretly dreams about.
But we still don’t agree on style.
I like ruffles, accessories and high heels. She likes camouflage, hoody sweatshirts and Georgia boots.
Here’s what our recent trip to the mall sounded like:
Me: “Do you want to go pick up some new makeup?”
Her: “No, Mom, I don’t wear makeup.”
Me: “Want to look for a new purse?”
Her: “No, Mom, I don’t carry a purse.”
Me: “Oh, hey, let’s check out that store. It has some really cute hats and sweaters.”
Her: Rolls eyes. “Um, can I go look at video games with Dad and the boys?”
My heart sank. Just as I had watched my little girl turn into a big girl, now she was turning into a teenage tomboy before my eyes.
She fishes, hunts and talks about getting a pickup in a few years for her first vehicle.
I appreciate all of that, but I miss some of the things that were just us girls — when we created glittery art and baked cookies together, put on makeup and curled her hair for dance recitals, waited for hours in front of a movie theater for the opening of “Twilight” movies, and sang Taylor Swift songs on our home karaoke machine.
These moody/teenage/tomboy years scare me.
She will have so many choices, and I hope we’ve given her the tools to make responsible ones.
Eventually, she’ll want to drive a car, I mean, truck — or worse yet, get into a vehicle driven by another teenager. She’ll date. She’ll move away to college, leaving me all alone in a house with stinky boys who think I’m moody, girly and silly for buying zebra-print purses and being afraid of spiders.
And in five years, she’ll be an adult. That’s practically as old as me because I plan on hanging on to 27 for quite a while.
It turns out I miss her tween years as much as I miss her Dora the Explorer, “When I grow up I want to be a Mama” years.
As we walked toward the video game store, I saw something that I hoped would pique her interest: a rack of phone covers, notebooks and other items featuring her favorite music group, One Direction.
We had just spent an hour listening to their songs on my car stereo, so I was pretty sure she’d be interested in the “1D” gear.
I pointed them out and watched for about 15 minutes as she oohed and aahed over every single item. She picked up necklaces and bracelets — yes, accessories! — off the rack and examined them closely.
When I told her she could pick out two items, she squealed and hugged me and said I was “the best mom ever.”
My husband looked over and shook his head, as though he didn’t understand.
I just savored the moment and thanked God for boy bands and the magical power they have for bringing a mother closer to her daughter.
Staff writer Lisa Pemberton is a busy mama with three children. Reach her at 360-754-5433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.