After many years of my father telling me that I was the more responsible of the two of us…and the numerous conversations I had with him over the years about his behavior…I’ve always known that parenting is a two way street.
From the first moment I met my Bella, I knew that squirmy crying little thing was going to teach me just as much as I taught her.
We teach them how to survive this world.
Often, they teach us how to love our world.
One of those instances came about during our road trip yesterday.
So, that squirmy crying little thing has grown into the 15 year old woman child that is the basis of my whole world.
Let me make this clear so no one ever thinks I’m about to become that fake Facebook mom who’s kid is perfect…
Y’all…this kid may be the death of me. She’s argumentative. She’s moody. She’s sometimes mean. She’s a slob. I could go on, but suffice it to say…
She’s a teenager.
But there’s so much more that she is, too. She’s hilarious. She’s brutally honest when she thinks people need to hear the truth. She loves her people with a fierceness that can’t be denied. I watched this kid, at 12 years old, (with a kind strength most adults can’t achieve) explain to her best friend why racist comments won’t be tolerated.
She knows who she is. She knows what she believes. She is not afraid to tell you. She is 100% her, 100% of the time.
As someone told me when she was around 11, “I know you worry about her and she drives you crazy, but…She is going to run the world. And she will never do something she doesn’t believe in.”
So, that kid…reared the head of her beautiful belief in herself yesterday.
She started talking about her “fan club”.
Apparently my Bella has “haters”. She also has some of the best friends anyone could ever want and she’s FLOURISHING socially this year. But…also haters.
Why do they hate her? She doesn’t know.
Did she do anything to them? She’s never said a word to them and doesn’t even know them.
Is she sure they really hate her then? Oh, yes…they will tell anyone who listens.
Does this hurt her? Nope.
“Mom, it’s high school. This is just how high school is. Why should I care if people, who don’t really know me, don’t like me? I just think it’s funny they spend that much time worried about me.”
Not gonna lie…with the utter sincerity and strength in self that she said that with…there’s never been anyone I more wanted to be like when I grow up.
So, being me, I laughed.
“Why are you laughing???”
“Because I’ve been going through this thing where I’m not liked…and it’s very clear I’m not liked…and I’ve been saying to my friends, literally, “What have I done to make them hate me so much???” as I cried like a little girl. Like you, the ones who don’t really like me….don’t really know me. But, apparently, you handle it better than I do.”
“So…basically you’re still in high school, too?”
“Yes. Yes I am.”
You guys. I don’t know where she gets this strength from. I don’t know how she’s become this person who is wiser than most adults.
I’d like to think I get some credit for who she’s growing up to be.
But I think she gets more credit for who I’m growing up to be.