Upstairs in our house there are two very sacred spaces. These two spaces, my girl’s rooms, are where they would spend hours listening to music, playing dolls, writing, drawing, “hanging out” with friends or just sitting on their beds thinking about life. When I’m in their rooms, which I find myself going to a lot, I have a sense of peace. Sometimes I wonder if I could just spend the rest of my days engulfed in these spaces, surrounded by the contents that remind me so much of my girls.
Yesterday I found myself sitting on Abigail’s bed thinking about life and how it’s changed so much over the past months. My mind drifted to before they went to Heaven, as it usually does, and I started thinking about the difference between my girls and how the gap in their ages was taking form. Anna’s room filled with American Girl Dolls, picture books, dress-up clothes and make believe and Abigail’s filled with pre-teen goodness – magazines, art supplies, journals full of her writings and book two of the Hunger Games series.
Abigail’s space in our house was hers and she cherished that space. When Tom and I met, she was sharing a room and had done so since she was little. When we reconfigured, everyone got their own rooms which made Abigail very happy. She finally had a room of her own to personalize and spread out in.
As I sat on her bed and looked around I smiled, her space is so Abigail.
A picture of her BFF sits on her nightstand along with little clay figurines she would make at bedtime and a little jar of bubbles that contained soap she made her sister eat while videotaping. Her favorite hat hangs off the corner of one stereo speaker, her cool shades sit on the other. Her earring collection, bracelets, folded up notes from friends at school and other favorites all spread out over her desk. A bobcat foot key chain, which she loved to put in my face and gross me out, is tucked behind her stereo. Hanging from her window are paper cranes, CBAP name tags and finger knitted scarfs made during play practice. A picture of her older sister Taylor hangs behind her desk.
On the walls are her drawings and paintings hung by fancy duct tape that was used by the Duct Tape Divas when making their goods to sell at the Farmer’s Market. Those goods can also be found under her bed and in other corners of her room along with detailed plans on what she was planning on making next. One of “Abigail’s trees” is drawn on her chalk wall along with a little owl and some flowers, a drawing that was created in early October and will remain there forever.
Lists, lots of lists, can be found in her journals and on random pieces of paper. Favorite things, important people and all the plans she had for her life. Where she wanted to travel, who she wanted to travel with and what food she would eat when she got there. Insights that she loved to share both in her writing and with her family.
One consistent theme in her writing is that her life was wonderful and she was happy. My girl, my pre-teen, was happy.
Over the past three years Abigail and I developed a bond that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This girl, that I did not give birth to, was my daughter in every sense of the word. I took care of her and she took care of me. She kept me on my toes and loved me with all her heart. I know this because she told on a regular basis that she loved having me as a mom even though we had tough patches; when being a mom and being a pre-teen were challenging, our loved prevailed. We were learning the ropes, working it out together and I was looking forward to seeing my beautiful 11-year-old turn into an amazing teenager and then a young lady.
I remember once when we were having a hard time, hormones raging, she stormed upstairs really mad. We both had to cool down a bit and I admit, at that moment, I really thought the next few years were going to do me in. I called Tom, hiding away in the laundry room, debriefing what I should do next. He always knows how to calm me down.
I remember walking upstairs, knocking on her door and peeking into her room with a bit of fear that I wouldn’t have the right words to make things better for the both of us. I was the mom, I needed to teach her something or help her through this time but really had no idea what to do. I sat on her bed as she explained that sometimes she just needs space and then she can talk with a clear head. So wise beyond her years. We made the agreement that, from that point on, if either of us were feeling frustrated with the other, we would let each other know and then take a break. We weren’t allowed to stomp up the stairs or yell but rather just calmly let the other know and then find space.
This conversation ended with how much we meant to each other and how we were both committed to getting us through her teenage years. Our journal started the next night, a notebook put under her pillow to let her know that no matter what I loved her with all my heart and that I was there for her through thick and thin. She responded with the same – through thick and thin.
I miss my pre-teen challenges, the days of wondering if I was doing right by her, the roller coaster of hormones and the wise words that were always exchanged, leaving us both content in our mother-daughter bond.
I would love to wrap my arms around my girl, squeeze her tight and tell her that I love her! I would bring her into my room and give her one of my favorite necklaces to wear and send her on her way. I am so blessed to have had the time I did with the coolest pre-teen ever and be her Susan/Mom.
I miss her so much and I smile at the thought that she may have been a bit frustrated that I was sitting on her bed yesterday reading her some of her beautiful writings.
Love pre-teen attitude.