I wish, instead of so many baby books, there were a few more books about getting through the tween and teen years. The baby years seem easy compared to helping my girls grow up.
I know there are a lot of books about helping your teen, but it seems like there are a lot more ‘how-to’ books about babies. I think that’s because it’s a lot of ‘mechanics.’ Feeding, changing, putting to sleep. Getting them on a schedule. Yes, the mom is emotional, but most of it is just getting the basics taken care of until they can do it themselves.
And then suddenly their doing it themselves. And it’s hard and awesome, as they go off to elementary school. But those are the golden years. You only really know that as they get older.
The Golden Years of parenthood (and childhood, really). They’re those years when the kids can do it themselves, but they’re still little. Before the teen years, after the baby years. Life is pretty easy, for them and for you. Sure, there’s stuff that comes up, but comparatively, those years are golden.
I’m pretty much done with the Golden Years. I know that now.
I now have a 13 year old. Libby is full of eye-rolling and a quiet (at least around me) sort of boy-craziness. She’s learning life lessons everyday; some break my heart, some lift me up a bit. She’s turning into the person she’ll be, and I like her. I just hope she can get through the next few years with grace and dignity — and that she continues to use her brain during those years.
And I have a nearly 12 year old, which seems just bizarre. She’s my Katy, my baby with Down syndrome, a girl fighting the fight (although she doesn’t realize it), making the world a better place one hug at a time. There is a whole movement out there informing the world about the fact that people with Down syndrome aren’t always happy and huggy. While this is true and she’s not always happy, Katy is always huggy, and will hug ANYONE (which is a problem). She’s become boy-crazy, which is a problem (especially when combined with the hugginess), and I’m just grateful that we live in a smaller town and we surround ourselves with people who understand Katy and who won’t take advantage of her.
But that won’t always be true, will it? She’s going to continue hugging, and we will try to teach her. I will tell those around her not to let her hug for too long, or to hug over and over. We’re working on the beauty of handshakes, but she knows the power of a hug, and she LOVES hugs. Hugs to Katy mean friendship and love and forgiveness and kindness, for her and for the person she’s hugging.
And, while I worry about all of this with her, I’m constantly worrying about Libby. What if we’re not doing this right? What if we’re giving her too much independence, or not enough? Is she sullen? Is she faking happiness? Is she angry underneath it all? Or is she not angry enough?
And then my mind goes back to Katy. Are we fighting hard enough for her? Not hard enough? Are we pushy enough? Do I need to push harder? Are we pushing too hard? Should I be making her do more? Less?
Are they eating healthy enough? Are they eating too much, or not enough? Are they getting enough exercise, or too much of the same kind of exercise?
Laundry, and dishes, and carpool, and work, and writing, and reading–while I’m doing all these things my mind is whirling with thoughts of my girls.
(I also worry about my husband, our house, my parents, my extended family, terrorism, fanaticism, and on and on.)
I swear, it all gets harder as they get older. I worry more, and I can’t do so much for them. I shouldn’t do so much for them.
At some point, you’ve got to let them loose a little more and more, and hope that you’ve taught them well.
And that is so much easier said than done.
Okay, done rambling. Here’s my review of a fun, summer read: Taylor Jenkins Reid’s One True Loves.
In high school, Emma did everything she could NOT to be like her sister and she hated working at the family bookstore (sidenote: WHAT?!!!!). But she also had a huge crush on the captain of the swim team, Jesse Lerner.
When she and Jesse finally talk, they find they actually like each other and have a lot in common. A need to get away from home (Acton, Massachusetts) and a love of travel top on the list. They both head out for college in California, and spend the next few years falling in love and eventually getting married.
And the Jesse heads out to Alaska on their first anniversary, and his helicopter crashes. He’s not found, but is presumed dead.
And Emma must get on with her life.
In an effort to heal, Emma moves back to Massachusetts, back in with her parents. Back to the familiar. She and her sister bond, and she starts managing the family bookstore. And she runs into and falls in love with Sam. They get engaged, and she finds this life very satisfying, even without the travel and adventure.
But there’s a twist (of course there’s a twist!): Jesse is found! Alive!!!
Now Emma is a married woman engaged to another man. And now she has to decide: Is she still the adventurous soul she was in her 20’s, or has she fallen in love with a more staid, steady life with family?
So. Much. Fun!!!!
One True Loves was fantastically fun read. I liked the characters, and was drawn deeply into the story. Emma is a very sympathetic, flawed character. Both Jesse and Sam are pretty good guys.
The Emma’s struggle between the two men is deeper than the two men, and it’s a struggle most of us can understand. I do it all the time; remembering the person I was in my 20’s, missing her sometimes. But also knowing I’m happy (and much healthier) living this life, of permanence and security and love.
If given the choice, though, would I live a life of adventure again? I’m pretty sure I would say no, although I can look back at that time as a wonderful part of my history, and a part that made me who I am today.
So this fun little book is much more than just a ‘chick’ book. It’s a reminder of the choices we make everyday to make us, and those we love, better people. It’s about how life changes as we grow up and grow older.
But again, this book is just a great read. Perfect summer fun. I give it 4.5 stars.