Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The birthday girl
Bethany had a birthday on the 20th, and now, unbelievably, I have an 11-year old daughter. This is surreal because she was just born.

Eleven years old. I remember 11. Pretty clearly actually, which for me is amazing because I have a horrible memory. It was a pretty eventful year, what with finishing elementary school, starting middle school, and all the associated drama. But it was fun too. My friends and I were tight. We had a good time. I was starting to feel pretty grown up.

I used to think Bethany and I were very different. In some ways we are. She is so loud. I am quiet. She is an extrovert and I am an introvert. She has always been confident, whereas confidence is something I struggle with, even as an adult. But the older she gets, the more I see our similarities. The 11-year old me wasn't so different from the 11-year old Bethany. I was so anxious to grow up! I was all about the make-up and the shopping and the clothes and the accessories. I sassed my mom and thought I knew better than she. Every freaking thing embarrassed me. I wanted to hang out with my friends all the time. I had a lot of friends, from all different groups, just like Bethany. I liked to write, and so does she. We are different in many ways too, but I wonder how much of that has to do with our vastly different childhoods. If our childhoods were more alike, would we be even more similar to one another?

Bethany drives me plenty crazy, but she also makes me beaucoup proud. I can count on her. Actually, I can count on her so well that I have to watch myself so that I don't count on her too much. She's a good friend. She speaks up for what she believes in. She is a terrific big sister, even if she does take that position a little too seriously at times. Her kindergarten teacher used to tell me that she tried to run the class, and in the same spirit she tries to rule the roost by lording it over her younger siblings. She is creative and full of ideas and plans. She is tech savvy. She saves me the trouble of giving her sisters manicures and pedicures. She amazes me when she does flips on the trampoline or climbs like a monkey. (Physically speaking, we truly are very different. She's athletic, flexible, and graceful. Me, not so much.)

My little girl is 11 years old. I can scarcely believe it's true, but it is. In two weeks she'll be in middle school. I hope 11 is good to her. I hope it will bring her lots of fun times and good memories. Happy Birthday, baby girl. Eleven or not, you will always be my baby.


Tracy Balderach said...

She sounds like someone I would love to hang with- or at least when I was 11 :) Congrats on being a momma for over a decade! Enjoy your sweet family! xxoo

Jackie said...

I hope that she had a wonderful birthday!!

I remember when my oldest daughter started middle school... I swear that it was the worst day ever! Worst than the first day kindergarten. It was then that I realized that she was independent and didn't need me like she used to.

alyaia75 said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies :-)

I took her to middle school registration yesterday. It was a strangely emotional experience...I wasn't expecting that. She is just growing up so fast!!