Posts Tagged ‘teenage girls’

Flowers Closeup, images of flowers grouped together,
photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

The girls were at camp for a week, which is the first time since this time last year that we had the house to ourselves. It’s late August, almost September, and this particular camp — which is always held the week before school starts — is the last hurrah of summer.

My oldest starts high school next week. During a few days off recently I began a room redecoration project with her. We had intended to go to the cabin for two days with Jim and Em, but I forgot about an orthodontist appointment for Dee that couldn’t be changed. So off they went while Dee and I set about redoing her bedroom.

She decided on a black-and-white color scheme with lavender, light blue, light pink, and other accent colors. We bought a new bedding set, plus two white shag rugs (I know!), a white desk chair, and a zebra print lamp. But the best part was when she got to select artwork for the walls. She found seven photo prints of different flowers, black-and-white with hints of color, in double-white mats.

I then purchased ready-made frames from Michael’s (my boycott there didn’t last long) and did something I rarely do. Instead of procrastinating and letting the new prints and frames sit untouched for weeks, I actually put them all together and hung them in a group on Dee’s wall.

Wall of Flowers, to hang multiple pictures together on the wall, I used this excellent “how to,” photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

The end of summer and beginning of school is a welcome time for me. Much as I enjoy the excitement of vacations and a general lazy feeling that lasts for two-and-a-half months starting in May, summer reminds me how much I cherish the routines that back-to-school brings in our household.

One such routine is quiet time for my artwork. With the girls back in school, that means they’re not staying up late on weeknights. Weeknights, often after 9p, are when I can pull out my jewelry and lose myself in the tactical work of designing bracelets, gluing on designs, sanding edges, and mixing resin.

Just last night, I worked on several new bracelets. I am always amazed at the vibrancy of the work and delighted any time a new color scheme or design emerges. I turn my music on loud — usually k.d. lang belting out hymns of the 49th parallel, James Taylor, or Collective Soul — and don’t look up again for hours.

Bracelets in Process, pieces coming together, (calendar
stuck on June), photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

But summer ain’t over ’til it’s over. Besides a couple of New Student orientations, the first day of school isn’t until Thursday. There is much yet to fit in over this last weekend.

Em is starting a new transition, too, from elementary to middle school. She also got new accouterments for her bedroom, such as bedding in bright oranges, magentas, lime greens, and turquoise. Jim has to fix the cool and colorful lamp inherited from Dee’s room, plus we have a few items yet to purchase. And there is still more to do to finish up Dee’s redecoration — the full length mirror, more wall hangings, and putting up the curtains that are being hemmed by a local seamstress.

It’s only now that summer is almost over that I can see how important these particular new beginnings are for my daughters. I like to mark beginnings — transformation in one’s life, new seasons, milestone dates, new roles.

And as I celebrate, it’s with a bittersweet heart because as the saying goes, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Mother and Child, antique framed Catholic print, hung to look over my art-making space, photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

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Twilight Advance, advance ticket for opening day of Twilight, the long-awaited film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s young adult hit series, image © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Twilight opened at midnight last night, and I imagine theaters everywhere were filled with teenage girls dressed in black. My teen didn’t make it; today was a school day.

But guess who has a ticket for a showing tonight? Yep. The way I see it is, these are the things that eventually become memories when today’s kids get to be our age. Standing in line for over an hour to get a good seat in the theater on opening day of Twilight, or sitting two rows from the front of the screen and being unable to straighten your neck when the movie ends. Sweet.

I don’t remember standing in line as a kid to be among the first to see a movie or to buy a book. Maybe life was simpler then and less sales-driven. Or maybe my parents just wouldn’t stand for such nonsense.

I’m pretty sure it’s the deprived child in me that now indulges my daughters and last year endured the torture of standing—or, rather, leaning—in line, half alseep at one in the morning, so I could fork over $24.99 to a testy cashier and get Dee’s copy of the long awaited Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


What did we have that was even slightly similar? My older sisters swooned over The Beatles and Elvis, although I don’t think they ever made it to a concert. Jim remembers going to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on his 13th birthday, although it wasn’t opening night. “Nah, we never went to openings when I was a kid.” And in general, we still avoid the crowds that come with any opening night.

Although, Em reminded Jim that we all went to see Wall-E the first night it opened this past summer. We were in Taos for the Taos Solar Festival, and on a whim the Friday night we rolled into town, we decided to go see Wall-E. We sashayed on in, bought our tickets, and sat smack dab in the middle of a mostly empty theater. We couldn’t believe our luck. No way we would have ventured to an Albuquerque theater for opening night of any movie, not even a Disney Pixar one.

But some people love the excitement of being among the first. It’s kind of like making history. Or, like I said, making memories.

How about you? Do you move with the throngs or do you hang back until the crowds thin?

-Related to posts My Kid Got Bit By Stephenie Meyer and Stephenie Bit Me, Too!

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Mom used to get so frustrated with us kids that she would scream. The she’d break down in tears. It was like everything inside her finally came out. Her face twisted up. She held her arms away from her, her hands balled up, and she hunched slightly like a bodybuilder showing his biceps. That’s when she screamed, more to get noise out of her than to quell whatever it was she was upset at. Finally, the tears came, hands flew up to the roots of her hair and she’d say something like, “I can’t stand it anymore!”

In my memory, it seems almost a physical depiction of Giving Up. Like her whole self had to go through a release. A welling up, explosion, then wilting.

Sometimes she was mad about something we did, although her meltdowns never seemed tied entirely to an event. I don’t recall any of us ever coming home late to Mom sitting by the doorway. I don’t recall her walking in while we were having a party or her catching us smoking a joint in the bathroom. Rather, it was the little things that chipped away.

She found a bong in the bedroom. She didn’t like my boyfriend. She was a grandmother at age 40.

Life was anxiety-producing. We kids spanned 13 years. My oldest sister was pregnant, married and out of the house; my other sister was away at college; my third sister a teen; my brother in middle school; I was in elementary school. (In hindsight, the little things weren’t so little.)

I remember when I was pregnant with Dee, I got the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Every night I read and re-read the sections that covered the particular number of weeks I was into my pregnancy. I also read ahead. Then when I got to that phase, I read and re-read that section.

I eventually got to the point where I put away the book. At seven months into my pregnancy, I even stopped going to see the doctor. I’d decided to birth my baby at home, and the midwife I’d picked out — the only one who did home births — was going away on a retreat for six weeks. She’d be back by my ninth month, just in time to work with me before the baby came.

I don’t know what snapped to cause me to transform from someone bewildered by pregnancy to someone with complete faith that I could birth my own baby. Maybe it was the sense that all the books in the world weren’t going to prepare me. Or maybe it was Jim and my last childbirthing class where we watched a film comparing US and European births. The US father was dressed in scrubs from head to toe, his wife laid out on what looked on an operating table under a stark light. The European couple was in a birthing center that resembled a lovely home. In the car that night, Jim and I both blurted, “The hospital birth looked scary!”

The point is, I finally figured out that I wasn’t going to figure it out. I just had to go with the flow. And once I went with the flow, I became calm. I knew what to do. I started to take responsibility for my pregnancy, and I prepared the best way I could, mentally and physically. When the day came, with Jim and my midwife by my side, I birthed Dee. In my bedroom. By myself.

What this has to do with Mom and her breakdowns is, I’m feeling a lot like what I imagined she used to feel right before she blew. And a lot less like I felt when I gave birth.

Earlier today I went to see Dee’s volleyball game. It went three rounds; they lost the last round by two points. It was close. Dee didn’t play well. Her serve was inconsistent, and her other hits were not solid either. All in all, it was a going-backwards for her. She started stronger four or five games ago, yet today’s game was her worst. I watched from the bleachers. She wasn’t the only one who wasn’t good. But a few of the other players had gotten great. The gap between them widened. It was hard to watch.

This is our first experience with team sports. Dee did rodeo the past two years. Rodeo is all about the girl and her horse. Dee’s horse is good. You can tell by looking at him. He’s honest, and he wants to perform for her. He does whatever she says. He senses when she’s ready, and every time he’s gone faster, she’s been ready. Watching her do rodeo was a thrill. She always improved in rodeo. Her barrel time got shorter, her finesse with the flags finer. She became competent before my eyes. I was in awe. Truthfully, I was in awe.

In the car home this evening, I asked her how the game felt. She shrugged. “Mmm,” she said.

“You guys did better,” I told her. “Mmm,” again.

“You were the captain this game, right?,” I tried. “Yeah,” she said, “one of them.”

“Well, that’s great, that means you guys led your team to an almost victory, which is way better than the past three games.”

She was silent most the rest of the way. When we were almost home she told me one of the girls who’s gotten great told her earlier in the day that Dee shouldn’t play volleyball. That same girl also told Dee after the game that they lost on account of Dee.

I tried to tell Dee from that girl’s perspective, Dee and the other players who weren’t strong were the reason the team lost. Dee missed the second-to-the-last point. She had a bad game. I didn’t want to gloss over the fact that Dee hadn’t supported the team the way the best players did. I wanted to point out that team sports are different from individual sports that way. That team sports are about two things: your game, and the team’s game. I didn’t blame. But I didn’t say that the girl who blamed was bad. Only that that’s how things are when you play in a team. It’s life. 

Honestly, I don’t think I did so well. Honestly, I’m at that stage of wanting a book to tell me what to do. And, while I’m being honest, I have to say I don’t want to go to the next game. If Dee keeps getting worse while the other girls get better, it’s going to get harder for Dee.

I know I need to let go. I let Jim practice with her tonight. She came in after about twenty minutes saying she learned to serve. I wanted her to show me, but I also didn’t. I’m at that place where I need to snap. Just like I did at seven months pregnant. I need to believe that she can do what she needs to do, and whatever happens she’ll be fine. I need to trust that Jim can be her father and help her. And that I’m going to be fine, too.

A part of me wants to do the Mom meltdown thing. The other part of me wants to rely on my own self for the journey. Then there’s the voice saying, “IT’S JUST VOLLEYBALL, FOR GOD’S SAKE!” Even so, I don’t know what Giving Up looks like for me right now.

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