My daughter turns 11 today. Not too long ago, she was this screaming, chubby, kissable, new baby I got to cradle after a 16-hour labour. And I was this clueless, idealistic, fat, new mother who just wanted wanted sleep. As cliched as it may sound, in a blink of an eye, she has all grown up.
Sigh ... Tweens. The new Teens. You have to handle them with care and caution. You have to flit between being Mother and BFF. You have to stay updated with what's current, and that means watching NigaHiga and Community Channel together with her. And explaining all the vulgar language and sexual innuendos in them. Because if you don't, she's going to hear the wrong version from her schoolmates. Or worse, repeat them because she didn't know better.
You have to add her as Friend on Facebook, and set up a Pet Society account against your will, so that she can use your Pet to get more stuff for her Pet. And then, you have to feed those Petlings for her, with your Coins.
You get familiar with angsty numbers by Avril Lavigne and emo ones by Miley Cyrus, because she blasts them on Youtube the moment her computer privileges come into effect on weekends.
But such is life in the new millenium. In the digital age, children grow up so quickly. It's not necessarily a bad thing ... but it sure is challenging.
You just have to grow with them.
Which brings me to my greatest fear - the Generation Gap. Heaven forbid, I don't want to be a mother who doesn't geddit. I want my children to feel comfortable telling me stuff. And that means being part of their world from Day 1 because bonds are not forged overnight.
By a stroke of luck, I managed to get my parenting skills checked two days ago, at the baking supplies store. My girl and I were bantering away as we walked around, and when I looked up, the store manager and I made eye contact.
"I am guessing she is not your daughter," he said confidently, with a smile.
"What makes you say that?" I countered.
"Well, you don't talk like a mother would to a child. I heard the both of you talking. You're giving her a lot of options, and you're constantly asking her what she thinks. Parents don't talk to their children like that. At least, I don't. My son has to do what I say," he explained.
I laughed ... a little too hard perhaps, but only because I felt terribly relieved.
"Oh, believe me. She IS my daughter!" I replied. "And you have no idea how happy you've just made me!"
With that random encounter as a small confidence booster, I continue on my parenting journey ... this time with some assurance that perhaps, I have been walking along the right path, after all. Well, we'll see. When I'm 60 and if she still wants to hang out with me, I know I must have done something right along the way. ;)
To my daughter, my first born:
Wishing you a happy, blessed birthday!
May you have wisdom.
May you have health.
May you be all the things you aspire to be, and more.
Above all, may you always be happy.
How did we celebrate? Stay tuned ...