Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Week in Letters

Dear Scarlett,

First, I love you more than the moon shines.

Second, being nearly 13 is hard. You're not quite a teen and not a small kid. You're solidly in between. Plus you look like you're nine.

For the second time in five years, you have no theater work lined up after the current production closes. This puts you in good company with many accomplished actors but isn't easy when you're 12. Your parents have also said 'no' to so many opportunities (requiring travel and complete family disruption) that your agent has sort of stopped calling. The parents hope that the greater good of the family will be worth the sacrifice in the long haul.

You're in a new school. All of your friends are in another school.

There's homework. The blood hound puppy of whom you're not particularly fond (when you're an adult you'll acknowledge you're not a dog person). Your little brother vying for your attention and the big brother who takes some joy in diminishing everything you do.

Your mother tries to talk to you every night -- about life, bodies, homework, friends. But you're the most insular person she has ever met and that's not an understatement. There might be some connection between being an accomplished actor and never communicating with people outside of a stage.

My dear: it's heart-breaking and wonderful to see a person emerge has her own self without parental dictations. This mother just wishes she could help you a little bit more (other than all that driving).

Friends -- a nearly 13 year old daughter? If you have one or have been through that, hat off.

9 comments:

Suburban Correspondent said...

Hang in there!

Common Household Mom said...

I have been through it once (excellent results, about to reach the age of 18) and expect to go through it again in a few years.

Your dog eats the mail?! (previous post) I will not stop thinking about this for a long time.

Susan said...

Even though it seems like she isn't receptive, she is listening and learning. Stick with it and try not to take it personally. Been there twice.

MJ said...

I learn so much from reading your blog. As a mom with 2 little girls, I am reading with interest about what you are encountering and what may lie in my future path! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Going out on a limb here... but maybe say "yes" to one of those opportunities that she has been offered. Yes, it may be unfair to some in the family now.. but you're not about to raise another Lohan. You might be raising a Portman.

I recall the old saw about treating people equally does not mean treating them the same. It means helping them to be the best person that they can be by giving them what they need. And that may not be what you reflexively want to do.

It's a different world than the one I started out in over half a century ago. And that was hard to type.
But I still wonder who I might have been and what I might have done if my parents had said yes to the opportunities that had been offered. Even after a visit by the high school teachers they still said no. Born from their fears that had grown from their time at my age. But that was during the war and the Depression.

This is not the life I envisioned for myself but it is the life I had. I can hope for and help my daughter get to the life she wants.

And it sucks to be the mother of a teen age girl. At the same time it's the best hard work that you'll do with the most amazing result

Laura said...

I am not only the mother of a preteen girl, I teach a whole school of them. Yay, middle school. I have a class full of 8th graders who whine and complain about the work they have to do, but then I can't drag them away from it at the end of class. They laugh and cry at the drop of a hat. It's an emotional roller coaster, but it's loads of fun. You'll get through it, I promise.

Jen on the Edge said...

We'll have a 13 year old in a little over six months, followed two years later by her younger sister. You're right, this is not the most fun age we've dealt with thus far.

Anonymous said...

I raised boys. However I was a snotty thirteen year old once, I think, a long time ago, it's hard to remember. Where was I, oh yeah thirteen, I remember. Anyway, my mother raised three boys and one girl and she said until the day she died that I was harder to raise than all the boys put together. She also said until the day she died that I was her favorite. We weren't close during my teen years, a bit closer as my children grew and very close after my children flew the nest. I understood being a mother by then so I understood my mother by then. I miss her very much. Your daughter will come around, of course. You were thirteen once, try to tap into that girl and give your
daughter time. And of course there will be drama, she's an actress.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I say she's lucky to have a mom so in tune with her thoughts and feelings. Seriously blown away by your insight on her.