Little Red Robbing Hood
Our oldest child is a tween. A tween going on So Terribly Mature It Hurts, of course, and a source of constant
irritation joy. I think when I was her age–sixth grade–I was almost as tall as I am now and had surpassed that 100lb milestone that seems to be the border between little squirt and grownup. She is smaller than I was at that age but, it pains me to say, so much cooler than I ever was. By sixth grade I think I was painfully aware of who was cool and who wasn’t , who was rich and who wasn’t, and that I was neither cool nor rich. I don’t think Greta has those thoughts and worries. Maybe they’ll hit her in grade seven. Maybe she’ll bypass them all together (we can hope so).
I remember being particularly anxious about the fact that I had not discovered my true purpose or my secret, amazing superpower talent, yet, either. When I looked around me, all I saw were kids who KNEW what they were good at and I, being good at any number of academic things and totally miserable at anything athletic or artistic, felt that I had somehow lost the genetic lottery and was doomed to a life of no purpose. Or worse yet: becoming a teacher. My mom was a teacher and, since I spent huge chunks of my days with teachers of various stripes I felt qualified to assess them all as complete bores–or non-entities, like the teacher in the Charlie Brown televised cartoons. Yes, they were up there at the front of the room and said things, but they were more like talking heads that got turned on when the school bell rang than like human beings of flesh and bone, ambition and compassion, or private lives. (Do all kids think of teachers like this? Or was I particularly heartless?) My mom, of course, was a real person but I somehow didn’t make the connection between her and my teachers–that maybe some of them were just as cool as my mom. Oh, wait. Nevermind. I thought my mom was a total bore, too–horrible ingrate that I was (love you , Mom!). Family stories of me commenting on my mom’s uncoolness, criticizing her wardrobe, etc., abound. Said long ago and impossible to take back (“what is my mom going to wear to embarrass me today?”), those stories make me want to wag my finger demonstratively at my tween self and shake my head with an exasperated sigh. Kids.
So, I’ve likely got it coming to me in the karmic parenting department. But my kid doesn’t criticize my wardrobe–she STEALS it. A t-shirt here, a shawl there. And today, she has absconded with my newly knitted GAP-tastic cowl. Knit out of two skeins of squishy Misti Alpaca Tonos, it is a joy to behold and snuggle with–and the little brat has it.
She looks pretty good in it, too. But tomorrow? IT’S MINE.