I feel like the signs have been here for a while, but I’ve chosen to ignore them. My ten year old daughter is grumpy, so what? Everyone gets grumpy. And moody. And cries for no logical reason at all. It doesn’t mean anything. She’s probably just tired, for thirty days in a row.
But she isn’t tired.
One morning I truly looked at her and noticed she needed to start wearing a training bra. I noticed she’d smile secretly at love scenes in movies when she thought no one was looking, before complaining loudly and falsely, “Ewww, gross!” I noticed the girl who would parade around half dressed without a thought, now closed and locked the bathroom door ten times a day while proclaiming loudly that she needed “Privacy!”
And that’s when it struck me like a two by four across the face: this is adolescence. My little girl is not so little anymore.
I feel like there should be some sort of welcoming committee as we start out on this new parenting stage. At least someone who could have clearly defined the situation for us. Sort of like the Abominable Snowman in Monsters Inc. only instead of shouting “Welcome to the Himalayas!” he could yell instead, “Welcome to the Adolescence!”
But there is no welcoming committee, no cheerful guide, no yellow snow cones.
Instead, my ten year old daughter yells “Don’t turn the station, I love this song! It’s soooo tragic!” from the back seat in the car whenever Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts comes on the radio.
And I am left to wander through this uncharted angst-ridden territory with just the dim memories of my own adolescence to help me.
The view is much different as a parent.