Friday, July 28, 2017
"And now she's in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand."
I always wanted a Betsy.
Her name wasn't Betsy at the time. Her name when I was growing up was always Brad, which eleven year old me thought was the coolest girl name ever of all time, because of a show called Hey Dude.
But, anyway, I always wanted a little girl.
When Betsy was a baby, we had so much fun together. We had tea parties and played princesses. Until Betsy could talk more, and told me in no uncertain terms that she really preferred horses (though she did love My Little Pony, so that was sort of girly) and sports and climbing trees and being with her dad. Nick was her hero, and I was that lady that was always there.
She loved me, don't get me wrong. But I was always at home, or with her wherever she was. Nick went off to an exotic place called "work." Betsy was a Daddy's girl, through and through.
My little tomboy has reached a crossroads this past year. Twelve and a half is awkward and moody and just mostly a lot of worry. All the time. About everything.
She still loves Star Wars and soccer and climbing trees. She secretly plays Barbies with her sister. She had her first boyfriend last year, and her first date, but she wasn't super jazzed about either. She understands that most of her friends are starting to be interested in boys, but she is ambivalent toward the whole thing.
I remember twelve. It seems like just yesterday that I was in the seventh grade, writing notes to my friends during class, making up secret sandwich names for boys so that we could talk about them without them knowing who we were talking about. (I loved Lettuce. Who was Tommy Werner. Just in case you wondered.)
Twelve is lots of wonderful things. Twelve is being brave enough to ride the really big rides at amusement parks. Twelve is old enough to ride in the front seat of the car and "navigate" for your directionally challenged mother. Twelve is watching all of the movies, staying up late and sleeping in, and having a room that is such a mess your mother just gives up on asking you to clean and simply requests a path to the rabbit cage.
Twelve is also hard. Twelve is not wanting to go swimming at the local pool anymore. Twelve is feeling prickly and sad and funky, all for no reason.
Add to that a personality of wanting to please everyone, and perfectionistic tendencies, and twelve can be pretty rough.
One of the side effects of my divorce is that Betsy and I are close in a way that we didn't used to be. I'm not just that lady who is always around anymore. I became her connection to the world for a while, when life was too confusing and overwhelming and sad. We were sad together. We grieved together. And we learned together, fought together, and spent the past two years growing up together.
When they handed Betsy to me in the hospital, when I finally got to look into those beautiful blue eyes, I cried and said, "I love you," over and over. I was so overwhelmed to meet this person that I had been waiting for my whole life. It was the best moment of my entire life.
I want to hold her still and tell her that I know in my heart that everything will work out, that despite her whole world turning upside down two years ago, and then all of the loveliness of puberty on top of that, life will turn out just like it's supposed to.
I don't know that I believe that anymore.
But I believed that with all of my twelve year old heart. Awkward and shy and nerdy as I was, I believed that someday I would fall in love and get married and have a beautiful little girl. And I did. Times two.
Maybe that should be enough.