My daughter just turned 12 and I'm feeling this spectrum of emotions. The emotions are often triggered by some of the things she says or does, both big and small. And when I notice these things it's as if I'm simultaneously grateful and, in some ways, sad.
For example, for a small thing, while at her birthday party I noticed she was talking with one of her friends. Throughout the conversation she had her arm around her shoulders. It's often how I talk to friends to create or acknowledge intimacy. In the end, who knows whether she is consciously doing this but it felt so, I don't know, grown up.
A big thing for example, was when we were in an argument and she had the presence of mind and maturity to tell me that I wasn't letting her express her feelings. She was completely right and it hit me right to the core. Her ability to be confident and stand up for herself in that moment felt really grown up.
I'm super grateful because I see her learning and using ways of relating and connecting that are definitely meaningful and effective. It fills my heart to know that she can both connect with someone in such a simple way with her arm around her friend and stay connected to her truth in her words and intentions to me.
I feel great that she's learned the skill now what does she do with it? I told her, for example, if ever anyone tells you that they don't want to hear about or care about your feelings that it's a really good sign to stand even stronger in that moment and ultimately find someone else who does.
I guess I'm a little sad because the teaching of the skill is such a huge leap the sharpening of the skill feels, I don't know, less impactful on a day to basis. And every day, I'm noticing little and big things that shows me she's growing up and I'm doing my best to get closer to her in that reality rather than further away. I really have to remember, though, it's not about me, it's about her.