Yesterday my favorite 'tween was halfway between twelve and thirteen. We celebrate half birthdays (sometimes, like yesterday, not very extravagantly, but we celebrate them). I took Emma shopping and to lunch.
And I mused about her being between.
She's between gift categories. She's too old for toys. She no longer has interest in stuffed animals, Polly Pockets, ponies. She never really liked dolls all that much. She's past dress up clothes.
She's not really at the age yet where she covets clothes. She wouldn't refuse clothes if someone offered them but she's more or less ambivalent to them.
We're also usually somewhere between the two extremes of not being able to address each other civilly and being mother daughter soul mates.
My goodness that girl has attitude sometimes. She can be argumentative and sassy. Downright mean. According to my friends with twelve year old daughters, it's the age. Here's hoping.
But then the other times, she's angelic. She can be helpful, unselfish, very funny, kind. She doesn't get embarrassed when I sing loudly along to the radio. She's sings loudly with me because we love the same songs.
We veer in alarm from any clothing covered in fur when we're shopping together.
She patiently endures my Pottery Barn perusing and I endure her Claire's stop.
Yesterday we visited the brand new American Girl store. A few years ago, it would have sent Emma over the moon to go there. We walked in and she seemed a little uncomfortable. "It's for little girls," she said softly, sadly. We walked around and she admired all the amazing detail given to the dolls, the historical characters whose books she's read. There was a day when she would have begged for the entire store.
Yesterday she said, "Let's go."
It's not easy being between. Little girl days, while comfortable and appealing, no longer fit. Older stuff is a little scary.
I think we both felt a little melancholy that the American Girl store didn't hold the magic it would have a few years ago.
I felt a new resolve walking beside my girl, promising to take her anywhere for lunch she wanted to go. Between is hard. So I'll be patient. I'll endure the occasional scorn she hands out. I'll continue to remind and correct and teach.
But I'll try to be gentle.
Because between is hard.