Twelve. It’s a life time. It’s closer to adulthood than it is to childhood. It’s your time for pushing and pulling……moulding your world with big ideas of what is wrong and right, what is just or unfair, what should be or could be.
Recently I learned a new word – indefatigable, which means “persistently tirelessly”. That’s you Evie. Someone who has tireless persistence…..in many positive ways, as well as perhaps some not so positive ways (at least according to your mum). Yet my real revelation was not the new word I learned, but the realisation that I too, just like you, am indefatigable.
See that’s the thing. We both persist and often achieve what we set out to achieve as our minds are strong and our will cannot be shaken. But sometimes you and I persist with each other in ways that are not so constructive. There are times when neither of us know when to stop and allow compassion to take over determination, to allow kindness and empathy to gently soothe away anger and frustration. Evie, it’s been a tough year. Of course there was Covid and the never-ending lockdowns, which I know you found much more insufferable compared to the previous lockdowns. But it’s also been the year where you have started to go through so much change physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And I too need to change to accommodate for that. To learn to be a mother of a young adolescent who is forging her own way through her life.
There are so many crazy things about being a parent and one that definitely wasn’t in the brochure is the way you don’t actually parent one person, you parent many, many different people who are all your child. You still call me mum yet over the past year you have morphed into another version of this child of mine. Sometimes I feel sad, as I never really got to say a proper goodbye to the little girl who grew up, and it’s only when Facebook shares a photo memory that I am reminded of who you once were. But watching you grow up, even as your world no longer spins around me as your centre axis, is by far the most rewarding part of my life. Just a few days ago, I watched you perform your solo dance at your end of year Kim Factor School of Dance concert and my heart soared. As you were leaping across the stage, I was yearning to leap out of my seat and shout to the audience “that’s my daughter, isn’t she just incredible!” I was so proud watching the young woman you have become, and I am filled with so much eternal love for you.
So whilst you are turning twelve today, I too am turning twelve years old as a mum. And my birthday wish is that I learn to live more graciously alongside your world. That I become less indefatigable and more forgiving. That I become less controlling and more accepting. That I become more of a mum who watches you from the sideline as you walk to your own beat, taking pride in the exceptional, intelligent, strong minded individual you have become. Waiting in the wings for now, and for infinity, whenever you may need me. And always remember, that my love for you will forever be indefatigable.
What I remember from when you were 11 years old
Well that was an experience and a half at the tattoo parlour, with interesting individuals who had more body holes than a piece of Swiss cheese. Within just one year you are already asking for “seconds” (get with the lingo mum) and let’s hope it’s many years away (aka never) before you start asking for “intimate” piercings.
Favourite TV show – the 6pm news
I am not sure if it was due to Covid, but you became fixated on watching the night time news with daddy, perhaps you were one of the few Victorians that took a liking to Dan Andrew’s daily updates.
Real favourite TV show
At the moment…Grey’s Anatomy. But earlier this year….Stranger Things. Every night you would beg me to watch an episode with you. I am so glad we found this series to watch together. It was special having this time cuddling on the couch, And luckily we had Squid Game as well. I hope the new seasons start soon….not so much for the actual shows, but because it’s the one time you may still allow me to cuddle with you on the couch.
Shoe laces doing my head in
I think I have mellowed just a little bit during your twelfth year. For whilst it still grates my nerves that you never untie your shoe laces, I think I have finally learned to let that one go.
For the love…or hate of reading
In past years I have seen you get lost in the souls of a book, and it makes my heart soar like nothing else. However, this past year I tried and tried to get you to read by perusing recommended book lists and getting countless of books from the library. Even letting you linger in our bed just to get you reading.
One book I will remember from your 12th year is your experience of reading ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’. I was a similar age to you when I read this book and it’s the sort of book that I know will stick in your mind and come back to you for many years in the future.
The days of you baking challah with me are very scarce. But thanks to lockdown and home school this year I did manage to lure you into a few of these baking sessions. I think what really got you excited was making your own miniature choc chip challahs.
Favourite thing to say to mum or dad
This is a hard one…it’s a toss-up between “Can you go!” (whenever we dare open your bedroom door),and “That’s so unfair!” which is liberally shouted for all to hear, whenever there is even the slightest injustice done in your world. Of course you have many other favourites such as “Can you stop?!” when I dare utter a sentence or “stop looking!” when Jake happens to glance your way.
Forever your BFF
Cino…. a love so pure. On the one hand there are your humans friends, who are your whole world at the moment. Your girls friends who you confide in, make Tik Toks with, steal lollies for midnight sleepover snacks together, and spend weekends roaming shopping strips. And then there is Cino. It’s like the grounding presence of your best canine friend that centres you in your world which is evolving at a very rapid pace.
The past twelve years have happened gradually, then suddenly. A long twelve years made up millions of nanosecond moments that have happened so quickly. Sometimes I miss the early days of newborn Evie, with the heavy weight of you in my arms, which seemed like a much simpler time. But to watch you grow is just beyond amazing, seeing your incredible talents, your intense forging of your own identity and your exuberant, indefatigable self.
I’m really proud of you Evie. And I’m also proud of me, being your mum. Happy twelfth birthday my sweetheart.