Took the girls to the State Fair last weekend. They insisted on Saturday night. It was packed, as you’d imagine. But these days, I’ll put up with a crowd if it means doing something with both kids at the same time.

Even still, she brought a friend and I let them disappear, with a sheet of ride tickets, into the crowded midway. “Meet us back here at 9:30.” And Red and I went to catch the circus before getting on the Ferris wheel.

The night before, Dusty had joined a friend at the high school football game. They aren’t sports spectators but like to hang out with their friends. I get it. She’s spending tonight hanging out with a friend. I know how much more fun that is than being home with your parents.

I am once again, then, spending a Friday night with Red. Last Friday, we watched Annie. Tonight, I’ve rented Brave. She’s not a popcorn eater so if I remember, I’ll bring home a treat. She’s a treat girl. And still likes to hang out with her mom.

I read this article recently and nodded all through it: http://www.brainchildmag.com/2013/10/my-adolescent-life/

While, Dusty and I don’t fight, she’s a stranger to me most of the time. Not that she doesn’t let me into her life, not that we don’t have conversations about things, not that she doesn’t tell me jokes anymore, like this one:

Dusty: When does Daylight Savings end?

Me: In a month! Stupid Congress.

Dusty: You know how “pro” means good and “con” means bad?

Me: Yeah.

Dusty: CON-gress.

But I also know there’s a lot she doesn’t tell me. In the evening, she’ll walk off to bed and has to be prompted to mutter ‘good night’. I know she doesn’t mean anything by the omission, it’s just that her almost-thirteen year old brain is filled with all those other things of concern. Things that are not saying good night to your mom.

I get it.

I almost thought I wouldn’t have them both on Monday, a holiday for them. But Dusty’s plans changed and it looks like we’re on again. Unless something else more tantalizing comes up. I haven’t made elaborate plans or any plans at all. I’m learning that with a young teenager in the house, it’s best to just let things….evolve. To be the Last Resort.

That said, my early birthday present to her is a ticket to see To Kill A Mockingbird in the city on Sunday. I’m holding these moments close to my chest because I know that time is coming, the time when I have to let out the yoyo string that connects us to it’s maximum length. And hope she springs back again.

Thirteen might be, I hope, a lucky number. For all of us.


2 thoughts on “Tilt-A-Whirl

  1. So far, my technique of assuring them they’re wanted when they have time to spend with me, scheduling a very few things for all of us that I know they’ll want to do, and making an effort to find new things to do on my own seems to be working. The older one comes home for at least part of every college break so far, and the younger one is coming home for his October break in a few weeks. Increasingly, as they get older, I find that it’s like any relationship you value–you have to go out and find new things to bring to it, or else it gets boring and you’re just spending time with the person out of pity.

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