Last week, Elena wrapped up her 5th grade year. It feels like she walked into the doors of her intermediate school last August as a kid and walked out as a teenager. I know for a fact she walked out taller, seeing as how she wore my sandals with a 3-inch wedge heel to school the other day.
I finally understand why they call this period of adolescence the tween years. Yes, she is between a child and a teen. But more accurately, she seems to always be in a state of between. Between exuberant and grumpy. Between tidy and complete disarray. Between helpful and obstinate. Between responsible and careless. Between social and anti-social.
She knows exactly where she is at all times … it’s the rest of us who always seem to be a few steps behind. I’m ready to nag her about the dirty clothes, only to find they’ve been put away. I suggest we all sit down together to play a game, only to find my social girl replaced with a girl who would rather eat roadkill than sit next to her brother. I brace myself for the fury, only to feel her wrap her arms around me with a furious hug.
It’s all changing so fast (and getting so expensive). Glasses, and braces on the horizon. Talk of cell phones and hair dye. “Where are you going?” and “When will you be back?” have replaced “I’ll call her mom and arrange a playdate.”
She is between so many things, yet in the middle of it all she is surrounded by my love.