Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Goodbye, innocence of childhood. Hello, awkward teen years.

Dearest C. Peevie,

When you were a tiny baby, I'd hold you in my arms, and I'd feel sorry for my friends whose children were no longer in this sweet infant stage. I'd look at their gigantic, clunky spawn, and I'd shake my head with sympathy. It must feel like a loss, I figured, every time they looked at someone else's baby, and knew that they'd never get that baby-time back.
But now, darling, I know better. What I've learned over the past 13 years while parenting you is that every stage is excellent, and has its own rewards. Some really, really hard stuff, too, don't get me wrong. But it's mostly great.

Before I had children, I was the best parent the world had ever known. I'd see other people parenting inadequately, and I'd know that I could do so much better. My friend ChefKat would tell me how frustrated she was with all the laundry created by her little daughter changing her outfit every 10 minutes, and I'd be all smug on the inside and think, "Well, just tell her she can have two outfits per day, and that's it!"

God is now laughing at me.

Other friends would pass on their parenting woes--their kids do this, their kids don't do that--and I'd think, "Well, give them a consequence!" Simple!
My friends are now laughing at me.
Now that I'm a parent, I know just one thing: that I know virtually nothing. My parenting methodology is based on best guesses or WAGs (wild-ass guesses), depending on the day and the situation. So chances are, as we interact with one another today, next week, in the coming months and years--I will make a mistake or two.
Be patient with me, sweetie, and I promise that I will do the best I can to protect you when you need to be protected; to give you freedom when it's the right time to do so; to not embarrass you; to listen to you.

I'm proud of you, C. Peevie. I think you're maturing nicely, as we used to say about your Uncle Mark. (Well, actually, we still do say it about him, but now that he's 40-something, you know, it's less of a compliment.) You're kind and thoughtful and sensitive. You have an emotional and spiritual sensibility that's deeper than most adults.

You're smart, and you're funny. We've been having great conversations ever since you said your first word ("noodle!"), and they keep on getting more interesting, complex, and sometimes hilarious.

And don't forget: I love you. I will always love you. I will never stop loving you. And there's nothing you can do that will make me stop loving you.
Happy birthday, C.P. Welcome to your teen years. I'm sure you'll do just fine.
Your mom.


jeanie said...

This one made me cry.

And yes, there is nothing like being a parent to humble you, confuse you, exasperate you, and fill you with joy and love like you have never known.
You are a great mom, Mrs. Peevie.
Happy 13th birthday C. Peevie! You are doing a great job with your parents, they are maturing nicely :-) I know raising parents is HARD work.

E. Peevie said...

Thanks, Jeanie. But it was supposed to make you laugh.

Anonymous said...

JRO: I forgot to write something nice like this for Mr. J when he turned 13. Could you do one for me. Just bill me. XOXOX

E. Peevie said...

J.Ro--Of course, darling. He's practically my boy, too. No charge.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle.