She’s 13 and she THINKS she is the sun, and we all revolve around her. When she’s grouchy (and boy can she be grouchy!) we all steer clear. When I know making a perfectly respectable request will incite a major rage, I often don’t… Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to deal with it!
Yes, of course we love her, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that. She’s family, and often times she’s giggly and laughing and oh-so-smart it just knocks my socks off. She’s truly beautiful and can be kind-hearted and compassionate too. She’s wonderful, really.
But she has her moments—and it seems they occur much more frequently than anyone else’s moments. And she’s slow to forgive, and she doesn’t really care if you’re so pissed you can hardly see straight. So sometimes, life in the McC household is a little…hard.
But in the big picture—you know, like, her whole life—it seems to me this selfishness, this doing what she wants when she wants—will turn into a good thing.
Knowing her like I do, I can’t imagine anyone ever taking advantage of her. Boys who want more from a relationship than she does? She IS that Avril Lavigne song: “Don’t think that your charm, and the fact that your arm is now around my neck, Will get you in my pants, I’ll have to kick your ass, and make you never forget…” That is so her.
Just as she has since she was a baby, she’ll always make sure her needs are met. She will call it like she sees it. If she’s hungry, she’ll eat. If she doesn’t want to go camping, she’ll stay home and her husband will go without her—if he wants—and that will be okay with her. She won’t fret about him or worry if his feelings are hurt, because since they met they will have been honest and open. It meant they had a few (maybe more than a few?) loud arguments, but they say what they feel and its all real.
Yes, really, I’m probably writing about myself. My thirteen year old self-important daughter will be the things I’m not. She’ll be strong and self sufficient. While she’ll love her children, she’ll take pretty good care of herself too. If her needs—perhaps even just her WANTS—conflict with those of her kids’, a good share of the time, it will probably be the kids that miss out.
She will be the antithesis to the supermom that so many of us older moms tried to be (um, yeah, I so failed). What looks so much like selfishness to me now will look like very healthy self care when she’s older. Here children will witness and learn that taking care of oneself is every bit as important as taking care of others. “Woman” doesn’t mean sacrifice or martyr, and there really is nothing wrong with saying “No.”
So in the McC household, we’ll keep on pushing responsibility and compassion, because those are the things that will temper my daughter’s selfishness into a healthy sense of self-ness. And in the long run, I’m confident she’ll be okay.