Posted by Julie at Jan 2, 2013 6:00 am
Yesterday, my baby turned 15. I rarely post pictures of her anywhere on the net, but I’m making an exception…
It’s my favorite picture. I might have posted it before. I know I just posted it on Facebook. Here’s another one…
This was a couple of years ago. More than a couple! She’s older now for sure and I’m so proud of her, I could just burst. She’s a beautiful person, inside and out. She’s very caring and has deep convictions in terms of social justice and basic kindness. She’s shy–except when she’s on stage. Her one soliloquy in the Christmas play nearly brought everyone to tears, including both me and my mother–and trust me, we’re a tough crowd. My daughter is incredibly artistic. Her book smarts scare me. She has more determination and strength than I ever had…once she decides she’s going to do something, nothing stops her.
I’m a proud mama.
But she’s 15 and it’s a rough world out there, one I’ve been fairly successful at protecting her from. I’m not entirely certain that I’ve adequately prepared her for what lies ahead. I try, believe me, but the world changes every day, so I have to hope that her strength of will and her depth of soul will take her through anything.
It makes me wonder, though, as I think back to when I was her age…what would I have liked to know then? What conversation would I have liked my mother to have with me? Trust me when I tell you that no topic is off limits between my daughter and me…not the case with my own mom, even though we’re now incredibly close. But I often wonder if there’s something I’m assuming she knows…something I’m assuming she heard or extrapolated that isn’t getting across.
If I could talk to my 15 year old self now, I would have encouraged me to think more about the future. I was a live in the moment kind of kid. I didn’t think about college when I was in high school. I didn’t think about my career until graduate school. I was very interested in what was happening at the moment, which is not a bad thing, I guess, but it made me a little unprepared when the future descended. I fell into things without really planning for it…except for writing. I had to work hard for that…but I still never said, “I want to be a writer,” until college…even though I’d been writing for years. It never occurred to me that I could make money as a writer. Not even when I was a writing major! (I’d always hoped to parlay my writing degree into a job in advertising…but then the opportunities never arose and frankly, I didn’t look very hard to find them.)
The thing is…I don’t encourage her to plan too far ahead! I want her to live in the now and get as much out of what she’s doing at this instant and let the future unfold as it does. I’m not entirely sure this is good advice…but it feels right. She’s always being asked where she wants to go to college and what she wants to do when she grows up…but she’s 15! Why should she pigeonhole herself now? We know where her talents lie…she’ll tell people she wants to be a film animator because that’s the easiest answer. I think she’d make an excellent film animator. I also think she’d make a fantastic scientist. I’m not entirely sure she won’t decide to pursue theater. She’s so young! If she starts to focus too soon, she could miss out on something better. Right?
This parenting stuff is HARD!!
Seriously though…what advice would YOU give YOUR 15 year old self, if you had the chance?
My PERFECT FIT Blog Tour begins today at Romancing the Book with an interview and a contest (chance to win one the first three books in the Serendipity series – so you can catch up if you’re new to the town/me!) Click HERE to read the interview, then don’t forget to enter their contest!