My sweet Grace. Wonderful girl. Great daughter. Caring sister. Loving heart. Beautiful smile. Laughing eyes. Loyal friend. Adorable. Awesome spirit. Sensitive. Quick witted. Smart. Funny. Wacky. Musical. Passionate. Artistic. Creative. Energetic. Motivated. Gregarious. Talented. Giving........
Until she's not. She is a teenager. Which means....she may or may not be all of the above plus more....all at at the same time! Then again, not. There may be a moment of the day where we forget that she's a teenager....all of her finest attributes are right there....almost tangible.....and then.......not......because she's finding her way through the ups and downs and hurdles and skips and dreams of teenage angst.
That's when the rest of us in the house......Biff, T.J. and I.....and Daisy, Fitzy ( the Golden Retrievers), Jinx the cat.....and now, our new kitty named Thomas....oh not anymore! Grace changed his name to Webster ......after all, it is her kitten. At one time or another during the course of a day....or an hour.....or a minute.....or a phone call....or dinner......we (the rest of us) have sort of puzzled looks on our faces.
We know how we felt as teens. We remember. We think we remember. Sometimes we can recall those teenage moments and drama and pain and hilarity and anger and fun and exhaustion and joy.....and then, sometimes we don't. Biff and I are learning as we go...how to be parents to teens.
T.J. is a teen too. He has his own teen days brewing. Having a sister with teenage drama and frustration is confusing. O.k., we'll admit it...we're not proud....if anything, we have learned how humbling this parenting gig can be.....Biff and I are just as confused as T.J. most days!
In T.J.'s situation, some of his own teenage angst is directly "related" to his sister! She's only 16 months older. He doesn't see it as we do....we're aware of some of the teenage ups, downs and in betweens.....some of them.....we think....as of this second.
Just when we think we have them figured out.....the kids or the ups, downs and in betweens.......it will all be different. Grace will move on to the next phase and everything we thought we knew will go right out the window! Just in time to greet T.J. in his finest teenage times!
I put my fingers on these laptop keys.... and this is what appeared. I have just spent 2 hours clothes shopping with Grace....for an occasion.
I had one moment.
It was just a look, maybe a face.
I knew that look.
I had seen it somewhere before.
It was that face.
The look and the face...together.
Then, I held up the couple of coordinated pieces of clothing....and that was that!
It was my mother.
Not the look.
Not the face.
It was me....innocently, offering suggestions to my teenage daughter.
Me, the mom.
Me, the woman who had made a career of shopping.
Shopping for the finest stores.
They paid me to shop.
They paid me to find the best in the market.
And there I was.
In that moment.
I remembered it all.
Just like that.
It all came back to me.
I did that look.
I did that face.
Just yesterday, I showed Grace my 9th grade high school identification card. She said, "Wow. You hated your life."
This, from the girl who uses the phrase, "I hate my life," calmly and rather randomly. If we have no Ritz crackers. If the dog barks. When her cell phone battery dies. If she can't find her pen. Just random. Just an expression. Just sayin'.
I looked at the i.d. card with Grace. I said, "Yup. I did. I did hate my life that year." It came back to me after seeing that photo. That face. That look.