I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that she has a good self-image, something not all little girls are able to claim. I patted myself on the back and put a little invisible check mark next to the "has a good self image" line on my invisible list of Things Good Parents Do.
She's at such an important age for this topic. But really, aren't we all? Aren't we all at an "important age" for some hot issue or another?
At 15, my eldest is on the precipice of adulthood. He is zig-zagging over that line that between needing parental involvement for the tiniest of details and being able to exist for days on end with very little supervision at all. At 15, he has to make choices that will determine his future for, if not the "rest" of his life, then at least the very beginning of his adult life. School and Girls and Drugs and Driving and College and...and...This age is so important and vital to his growth that I often whisper in my head "Don't f*ck this up." But no pressure, right?
My middle son is 12. As I stated, he is also the "middle" which is a unique birth order location to be at, especially at his delicate age of 12. My "not-child/not-teen" teeters between boy and man on a daily basis. I can physically SEE him growing on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I remember being 12. Do you remember 12? 12 sucked. 12 sucked ASS. My own baby is presently living through an age that you seriously could not PAY ME to relive, and that is almost as painful as living through 12 the first time. I watch him and I wonder, "Am I screwing this up? Am I screwing HIM up? Am I parenting him the way that he needs to be parented, instead of just the way I am ABLE to do it? God, what if I'm screwing this up??? Don't f*ck this up." Again, No pressure.
And my youngest... aside from the body image being obviously on-the-mark (Woo-hoo!), how about everything else? Am I ruining her by exposing her to too much, too soon? I know there are advantages and disadvantages to every age and every spot in a birth order, but will the good outweigh the bad for her? Will she someday look at her past and say, "I want to do that for my kids, but change these few little things"?? Or will she want to alter everything for her children? Will she be desperate to be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the one major female influence in her life? She's at an age where she will actually remember some of the daily conversations we have. She's finally at an age of Remembering: Will she remember the times I helped her with science and math with patience and laughter, or will she only retain the times I angrily snapped and yelled, "Because I SAID SO" ?? I need to be more patient. I need to be more conscious. I need to be better. I need to not f*ck this up.
But no pressure, right?