I've been profoundly lax here of late with my posting, and I'm sorry. I daresay I can blame it all on a girl. My daughter.
The Oregon trip wasn't bad, as far as trips go. You remember, perhaps, a few posts back about the flight. Having my daughter home again has been all the things I recall from the past 13 years: a delight, a trauma, a head-spinning mix of emotions. Being a parent, if you don't know, can be damned hairy.
She's in the seventh grade now. Used to be, I had every answer to any question she wanted to put to me. Now it is I who struggle to keep up with her. I longed to raise her to be independent, emotionally strong and outgoing, all the things I wasn't as a child. I think I performed my task too well. She told her grandmother the other day that she was "an adult" and therefore could stay alone at the house as long as she wanted. Thirteen years old, and an adult. Thirteen going on thirty, no idea of what sort of sharp teeth and claws await her as an adult, and my warnings go unheeded.
I've been seeing the growing fork between us. Time was when I would look at her and see a sort of raw blur, the proverbial lump of clay, only slowly putting forth an idea of "Self," only slowly gathering the breath to shout "I am!" Time was I'd look at her and try to see myself in her, try to see her mother, her family, and try to divine the future in her clear, untroubled expression. Now, seemingly overnight my little girl is a young woman: she deals with her period once a month, she goes to school with her head up and a sort of eagerness that I never felt about school until the last semesters of my college life. She reads voraciously like her father, is quiet and introspective like her father, but she is not like me, she is more and more like Her. She is approaching Life with a quiet, introspective fierceness that I would love to take credit for; who am I kidding? I'd love to HAVE that fierceness I see in her, but I'm set in my ways.
It is she who is taking my seat at the potter's wheel. It is she, my little girl, who is shaping the vessel that is Herself, and I can only stand by and watch her take shape, can only say a few quiet words and hope she still hears me.