For years I've been claiming that we're not doing adolescence in my family. (Okay, stop snickering.) Now that Erin's almost 14, I'm taking a moment to look at how things are going.
Are we doing adolescence yet? Well, not in the traditional way.
Some things have changed. She showers regularly. That's quite a shift from four years ago when it seemed the only time her body saw water was when we drove to Nelson and used the swimming pool. (And we made a point of going often for that reason!) She does her hair, wears some simple jewelry. She has some nice clothes that make her look like a teen and she wears them comfortably and looks beautiful. She has an iPod loaded with pop music. (As well as Beethoven Symphonies.)
Erin has always had a high need for private time, and she's been given that in spades over the past year or two. And yet she still wants to carve out even more for herself. She wants me "out of her life" in a particular way. What it boils down to is this:
I cannot join "her" choir. It's the community choir, an amazing talented group of adults singing complex four-part choral arrangements, groomed to a high degree of musical polish. I'd love to sing, but she would never let me. It's her thing. They're her friends (one teen, the rest being mostly over 50). She sings her heart out. She giggles with her fellow first sopranos. She loves rehearsals. She enthusiastically memorizes all the music before anyone else. She has been assigned a solo and apparently sings it beautifully -- so they all tell me. But I cannot join her choir. I cannot even arrive early to pick her up, lest I hear some of her rehearsal or see her singing and enjoying herself. In fact, it's much better if I let her get a ride home with Kay or Pat or Kathy and don't pick her up at all. And while I can come to the performance, I must leave during the song that she sings solo in.
The Christmas concert is tomorrow night. I will dutifully absent myself during her solo, just as I did during her solo in Adult Choir at the summer school. I would love to hear her sing. But if this is the sum total of her "get out of my life" rebellion, carving out this lovely social and musical role for herself in a wonderful strong choir of adults in our community, I shall live with the disappointment.