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When we were coming in the house last night, we were talking about someone she knew, and Kelsea said, “You know, X seems older than us.” And then she realized what she had just said. And I realized what she had just said. And we laughed. It’s an interesting mix of flattering and worrisome when your 13-year old thinks of you as being her age.
It’s true, right now, we are close – more sister-like in many ways. Now before you think what I always think about parents who want to be their kids’ friends, stop right there. I never set out wanting to be Kelsea’s friend. That was never a goal. I’ve always been proud and happy to be her mom. But somehow, the friend thing has just happened. I still do all the mom-things, like making her do her homework, take a shower, clean up (as best as can be expected), etc. We still have the required talks about boys, sex, drugs, personal hygiene and just about anything else you can think of. But at this point, she’s pretty self-disciplined. She’s got a pretty good moral compass going (she even brought up the concept of the moral compass herself a few weeks ago).
As I rediscover myself as a single person, I am rediscovering a lot of buried treasure – otherwise known as fun. And Kelsea is fun. So when you put the two of us together, we have…fun. It’s just not always the typical mother-daughter fun (whatever that is).
Last night, for example, we settled in to watch a little TV. Normal, right? But what we wound up watching was “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Suddenly, the mother-daughter TV time travelled into another dimension.
As with most kids her age, Kelsea knows a lot more worldly things than I give her credit for. I have basically given up trying to “shield” her from topics that are overtly sexual or violent or evil. Between friends, the internet, and her Dad not doing that sort of editing, she seems to know a little about just about everything. In watching drag queens compete for the ultimate drag queen title, I actually found the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics that don’t come up in ordinary conversation: transvestism, transgender tendencies, make-up, cattiness, fashion. I had the chance to clarify certain questions that she hadn’t had anyone to ask. So it wound up being a good thing.
It also wound up being a politically incorrect hoot. We were calling each other the choice names we learned from JuJuBee, Raven and the new Tyra for the rest of the night. I was compelled to remind her this morning not to use those terms during her visit to the Alzheimer’s Memory Center today. But I found it as funny as she did. As always when we went to bed, even though we were both tired, we spent half an hour talking between our rooms about dreams, boys, travel. It reminds me of how my Dad used to lay at the foot of my bed, talking with me about anything, as I was going to sleep when I was littler than Kelsea.
This morning, we sat on the kitchen floor eating breakfast and composing new LOLs with the LOL magnets on the refrigerator door, and speculated on how many other mother/daughters eat breakfast on the floor. Not many, we concluded.
I’ve written recently about how I’ve been warned by almost everybody (except a very kind blog friend) how Kelsea will turn into the seven-headed unrecognizable demon from the black lagoon at any moment, so I should cherish these times. Well, guess what? I do cherish these times. I would cherish these times even if the transformation was not a possiblity in the offing. (And don’t worry, I’m waiting for that first shoe to drop.)
So maybe I’m not instilling in her the finest table manners, how to fold a hospital corner (okay, I have tried that) or how not to slurp her soup. But I hope I’m strengthening her base of knowledge. I hope I’m increasing her trust in her mother as someone she can talk to about absolutely anything, someone who won’t judge her regardless of the topic, her opnions or her actions. Someone to whom she can reach out if she needs help or feels troubled or confused.
I’d rather be doing that. And laughing with her. And just loving her.