Wrangling with the Wrong Stuff

This past was not the best weekend with my lovely, eldest daughter. But difficult, I’m finding, is relative.

This daughter of mine is fourteen and one-half.  She pushes the boundaries on everything, but more often does not just stretch them, but stomps and trounces upon them, all the while sneering at me.  But she is also recognizing what an ass she can be, which is good.  Last night she was watching something truly wretched on VH1–I’m not even sure what, but as I walked by all I could see was a variety of people sitting around a living room and skin–lots of rounded, fleshy skin bulging out of places where flesh generally does when clothing is either too tight or too short.

“Inappropriate!” I yelled as I skimmed by.  She argued, then came into the room where I was, and bounced up and down whining “I’m 14; stop trea-TING me like a TWO year old.”  About the time she got to “two” she saw the look on my face (sheer wonder at the idiocy of it all, truly, I’m sure) as she recognized she was having a two-year-old’s tantrum.  She smiled, laughed, walked away and found something else on TV to watch.

Later still we had to argue about her tuba practice charts, which are a big joke and mostly a big lie.  We wouldn’t sign them as she presented them.  She was mad. She went to bed.

I pulled out my laptop, exhausted by her incessant need for drama and wishing I could be anywhere else, with anyone else.  And then I read LizardEater’s post on The Journey about her baby daughter’s recurrance of cancer.  And I found myself struck dumb, self-absorbed, ridiculous, and absolutely exhausted by wrangling with what don’t matter. So, on to wrangling with the stuff that does.

In the meantime, a prayer, I think, for them both:

May you, Little Warrior,
grow strong,
grow up,
grow independent and …
argue with your mother over things
you know don’t matter.
But in the arguing,
know you are doing the dance
of growing strong,
growing up, and growing independent.

May you, LW, grow long legs and long arms
so that, even when you know the school won’t allow you
to wear shorts or skirts shorter than your fingertips at your side,
you test your mother in the dressing room of a major department store
Insisting that what is visibly too short
is really “fi-i-i-nnne” by twisting your body,
and shrinking your arms up, like an adolescent TRex.

May you, LE, be able to laugh at the sight of this child-gone-partially-dinosaur
and share with others the ridiculousness that is
having a strong and independent daughter of a typically crazy age.

This, and other tedious, treacherous, totally inane moments of an age,
I wish for you both.

And the joy, too, that comes with this ridiculous and ought-to-be-predictable dance
of growing strong, growing up, and growing independent–from each other.

Thinking of you both and wishing, hoping, praying …


  1. uuMomma · May 2, 2008

    LE, I’m glad you found this and thank you for your words. Your blog has been a gift to me many times over. Best of everything to all of you …


  2. Lizard Eater · May 2, 2008

    Thank you, UUMomma. This poem is a real gift. You perfectly put into words what a privilege “real,” annoying, crazy life is.


  3. earthbound spirit · April 29, 2008

    Thank you for this. You are wise & wonderful. When I read LE’s post this morning, I dashed off a quick comment – and then just cried. Oy. Back to basics, alright. Your post reminded of the late, great Erma Bombeck’s book “I want to grow hair, I want to grow up, I want to go to Boise” – about children coping with cancer.


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