Wednesday, September 10, 2008


If you have had ANY interaction with teenage girls in the past year or so, then the boys of summer above won’t be strangers to you …

“I'm hot
You're cold
You go around
Like you know
Who I am
But you don't
You've got me on my toes”

Music blasted from the stereo, painting colour and noise and youth into the air. My youngest daughter, quivering with energy and teenage angst, leaps from couch to couch, arms wheeling, playing air guitar, lip synching to the trembling boy band lyrics tumbling out of the throats of the boy band of the moment.

Dramatically she pauses, face raised to the heavens, radiant with first-crush love and emotion, and waits, arms stretched wide for the MOMENT.

On one of the couches, daughter no.2 huddles, whimpering pathetically, tied to the living room with gossamer thin, steely strong familial bindings and the memories of years of torment of her baby sister to make up keeping her captive to her sister’s passion.

“Mummy, save me!”

I grin and with motions (as to surmount the noise level is an impossibility) command her stillness, making her “share” this moment.

Basely, I slip from the living room to the kitchen, where their father has already escaped. We grin conspiratorially at each other but with an underlying poignancy we both recognize.

“Its not the first time I’ve had kids leaping all over the furniture” he says prosaically, but then sadly, “but it is the last”.

He’s right and I feel a pang. Our youngest daughter is hurtling towards growing up at an alarming rate. My “baby” is soon to be 16 – vibrant, glowing, capricious, angst-ridden and moody as hell. She is complicated and terribly bright and awfully silly. She agonizes over a barely visible blemish and is now 6 years into being a vegetarian over a strongly held, hard to refute repudiation of meat. She speaks up in a crowd and is a stalwart defender of the weak… when she is not being a “mean girl”.

So many changes are occurring that my head spins. It seems one moment I had four small children demanding every moment of every day, when “quality” time was the three hours sleep (if I was lucky), where D. and I went for 12 years without a real “date” …and now, my eldest daughter has moved out with her boyfriend (something with which we’re completely comfortable), daughter no. 2 is seldom seen between fulltime university, jobs and a VERY active social life, my son, a provincial level wrestler and silver-belt judo maven and self-labelled computer geek barely seen except for meals (which never seen to fill him up) and now my youngest… on her way to maturity and adulthood, escaping me as she should, stretching and growing and making her own mistakes and learning that life is hard and yet so utterly wonderful.

I wander into the living room, the window shaking as the bass spilling from the stereo tears at the frames ...and watch my child explode into a frenzy of graceful movements as the song belts out its message of pubescent reality ...

Burning up, burning up
For you baby

and now the universe is unfolding as it should.

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