Sigh…we tried really hard to avoid this stage of child raring, but it has come for us.
“Only 3 kids showed up on Thee’s team.” I casually mentioned to hubby, as he was busy himself with filming our 9 year-old’s volleyball game that just got underway.
“What?!” hubby looked over his camera and peering over at our 12 year-old’s volleyball court.
“I can go fill in for them. I will go play.” hubby turned off his camera, and was about to get up from his chair.
“No, you WON’T” I said firmly and put my hand on his arm.
“Why not? They need at least four players to play the games. This volleyball league is so lay-back, they won’t care if I fill in for the kids.” hubby.
“True. But Thee will care. She will be embarrassed if you go play on her team.” I stated dryly.
“WHAT?! No. Are you serious?” hubby looking at me.
“Yes. You will embarrass her. She won’t want you there. Sit Down.” me.
Hubby reluctantly sat back down, while casting doubtful looks on me.
He might be blissfully ignorant in this matter. But I have become keenly aware of the changes in my 12-year-old in just the recent months.
Yes, the sweet child that we have so carefully raised has emerged into an adolescent. An challenging age that came with annoying behavior, further amplified by inherent deep flaws in character.
I have observed my 12-year-old morph in and out between her old self and this new creature possessed by an alien.
This new creature can be surprisingly mean to her little sister, unschooled in gratefulness, and particularly self-absorbed.
I have shouted at this creature on a few occasions and demanded my old sweet child back.
I have questioned my own parenting style, and wondered if I had done it all wrong.
I have given this a lot of thought.
Lucky for me, I have this unyielding confidence in my parenting approach.
We have always been responsive to our children’s emotional needs, set firm boundaries, and clear expectations.
This isn’t anyone’s fault. Our child needs to grow up, and is struggling to do so trying to give up her old familiar childish ways, reaching for new independence, while balancing the demands from school, extra activities, old and new friends, and us, the parents.
I came to the realization that I can’t go on and treat her as a young child anymore. I will have to learn to let her grow up, give her space, and respect her boundary.
I practiced my newly establishing parenting guideline on my husband when I forbid him from playing on my pre-teen’s volleyball game.
Later that day, we gathered around our kitchen island, as hubby was making the kids’ favorite virgin pina colada smoothie.
“How come you only had three players today.” hubby asked our 12-year-old.
“It is our coach’s wife birthday today, so he and his two boys didn’t come. Then a couple more kids just didn’t show up.” 12-year-old.
“I was going to come and play on your team for you.” hubby.
“WHAT?!” the new creature surfaced with arms crossed over her chest, face registered with horror.
“But mom stopped me. She said that I would embarrass you.” hubby, then added, “Would I embarrass you?”
“Of course! You would!” creature.
This was one of the few time where I was sad to be right.
“We have become embarrassing parents.” I declared to hubby in an official manner.
Hubby smiled while shaking his head and pouring out the drinks into cups.
“Remember when you were little, and we warned you about not letting us becoming embarrassing parents.” me, still a bit dreamy about the past.
“Yeah. I am not going to be embarrassed by you as long as you don’t do embarrassing things to me.” 12-year-old, all smiles and charm.
“You mean..like, standing next to you?” me.
“YES!! Just don’t stand next to me.” 12-year-old.