The stories don’t belong to me any more.
It’s easy to talk about potty training, your child has barely separated from you. Everyone has a first day of Kindergarten, and a first year of soccer. Little League is a rite of passage in America, as is Scouting and learning to ride a bicycle.
How do you write your children’s stories as they mature? Is it fair to tell the world that they are having a tough time in school? Should you discuss the emotional games that girls play with each other, or the punches that little boys dole out? Certainly no one will be writing about their daughter’s first brassiere until said daughter is a mother herself.
Jane is eleven. She will be twelve this winter, and our discussions have changed rapidly.
Last night we were running up the stairs together, and I said, “ooh ouch, my boobs hurt.” So naturally Jane stopped running long enough to roll her eyes and say, “Mo-om.” To which I replied, “no really, they’re a little tender sometimes before you get your period. It happens to a lot of people, but no to everyone. Sometimes I like to wear a tighter bra that week.”
And she started asking me questions that I was happy to answer.
I can’t tell you everything, because this is her story, not mine. I can tell you that talking to your preadolescent daughter is critical, they have so many questions, they just don’t know how to ask them.