Thirteen in our house is absolutely enchanting. It’s almost like a guest has arrived with certain requests and certain rules for engagement. My husband and I find this time especially rewarding. If the door slams, we have much needed quiet time. If the door opens, we have a unique, elegant, hilarious and blooming young lady who entertains us in ways we never imagined.
For example, a moment ago there was a young lady who emerged from my daughter’s room with a green face mask and a cap over her head. This young lady asked me as I stretched my hand out if I meant to high five her? I shook my head no and kept my hand held out. She hugged me and I breathed in the rose spray she uses and she peeked at my computer. She said, “What are you writing? I see ‘thirteen!'” And then she squirmed away and looked back at me with a wry smile that meant, “I love you Mom.” And that is everything to me.
A lot of people ask me, “What are you going to do after you graduate?” And trust me, I would love to be relevant to the world, but I am never going to be as relevant to a company as I am to my family. It’s simply impossible. I have some dreams in my back pocket that are simmering but they can wait. They will wait, because the moments that I have with my 13-year-old daughter are priceless.
The thing about 13 is that the physical connection of picking them up and cleaning their bodies, bathing and dressing them and playing on the playground and putting them in and out of their car seats and laying with them and reading to them and having them sit on your lap–it’s all over. It’s all over. And then, one fall day as you walk in the neighborhood, they take your hand, you turn your head, and they look straight into your eyes because they are almost six feet tall (it seems) and your heart explodes with a new love, a new emotion that you are scared of. You are scared that someday this, too, will end.
Thirteen is amazing. It is heartbreaking. It is beautiful. It can be moody and it should be. It can be difficult and it will be. I had no idea that 13 would be harder and yet more wonderful than any other time because I still have my baby girl, but surprisingly, she is also quite sophisticated.
Lately, I have been asking if she will do my makeup before I go out. It’s a special connection regardless of the result. I love watching her dip into her palette of a million eyeshadows, and how she grabs my chin while she works. I love hearing the clink of her glass jars as she searches for the right brush to apply highlighter to my cheeks. When she finishes and I look in the mirror, I don’t see the young mom that had a baby on her hip 13 years ago, but a mother who is so lucky. I see me.
Originally published on the author’s blog