Thursday, February 19, 2009

Savanna is Eleven and I am too

I started keeping a journal right after I turned eleven. It isn't because my life suddenly became filled with exciting adventures and excursions that were aching to be documented. On the contrary, I think this is when I began dealing with some emotional upheavals that I didn't quite know how to handle. My feet were growing too fast, our move across the country was quickly becoming a reality, older siblings were distancing themselves, and I finally came to the stark realization that sharing one bathroom with ten other people was a bit of a nuisance. These were some external factors that could explain my inner turmoil, but I suspect the reality is that this is just about the age when the hormones began to gather on my side of the fence. No amount of skipping or blowing dandelions could keep them at bay. Skipping just wasn't that cool anymore and I was too awkward in my body to stoop down and pick the bursting dandelions.

The past 11 years, I have relived the wonder of childhood through my growing children and it has been like opening my favorite gift over and over again without losing any of the joy and revelation of its first appearance. The dangers I need to protect my young ones from are well-marked. Buckle them in proper child safety seats, take them to story time at the library, feed them vegetables, don't let them put plastic bags on their heads or balloons in their mouths, keep them out of the toilet.... basically keep my eye on them every second of the day. It has been exhausting, but at the end of the day I could fall asleep with the satisfaction that I managed fairly well at keeping them alive and entertained (minus some bad falls and average parental stupidity).

Of course, rational reasoning would forewarn that I would also be revisiting the angst and discomfort of becoming a teenager. I must suffer somewhat from PTSD (Post teen stress disorder) because the hefty lumps I often felt in the pit of my stomach as a teen-ager have been haunting me whenever I watch Savanna throw her backpack down after school and bee-line it to the sanctuary of her room. I feel helpless. I am now a sentinel of perils intangible and inevitable. And now at the end of the day, her body is intact, but I am completely unaware of how her heart is faring. And more than once, I have had the sinking sensation that I may be her number one enemy and that she requires refuge from nothing but myself and the tendency I have of weighing her down with my own insecurities. Not much of a birthday present, is it? I have recognized that Savanna has a strong sense of self-efficacy that I lack. This motivates her to do the things of which she is most passionate, regardless of whether or not mainstream Tween-age-Dom approves. I hope this strength will provide an anchor during the hormonal storms that are sure to wreak havoc on her world.
Enough of the yearning epistle of a vulnerable mother. I love you, Savanna and hope that you will forgive me for all the things I will do to drive you crazy in the years to come.
Happy Birthday
Savanna had the confidence to refrain from less preferable traditions and requested a popcorn cream puff birthday cake. It may not have been pretty, but it was easy and everyone was happy.
Her breakfast of choice was Belgian Waffles, boysenberry syrup and whipped cream. In this respect, we are exactly alike.
Her biggest surprise was a new camera which has created yet another artistic medium for her amazing eye for beauty and detail.
She loves penguins and my sister, Elizabeth, who was able to come from Pullman with her family, MADE this stuffed penguin. Sheesh, I didn't even make the cake. I NEVER compare myself to my sister (wishful thinking).
A signed copy of Pillage by Obert Skye. We are so happy that she hadn't asked for a signed Hannah Montana poster.
A week later, Savanna celebrated her birthday with her friends by seeing the movie, Coraline, going out for pizza, enjoying hot fudge Sundaes, and having a sleep-over.

What these girls don't know is that the party planner, photographer, and chauffer is deathly ill and about to keel over. In return for my sacrifice, I will expect a rockin 79th birthday party.
Isn't this cake beautiful? Can you believe I managed to make a cake when I felt so awful? I know, I amaze myself too sometimes.

What the ? Oh, this is just a frosted cake pan. Guess I'm not that amazing after all. Martha S. would be appalled. The girls didn't care. They just wanted ice cream anyway. Maria (in the photo) was a little upset because Corey had offered her $10 if she could eat the whole cake. She absolutely would have done it if it wasn't 80% tin.

A product of Savanna's self-efficacy


Anonymous said...

Glad to see you are back. I love your blog!! Happy Birthday Savanna, sorry I'm so late with my wishes.
Grandma Judd

Kaerlig said...

I really enjoy your writing style. Luckily you and she have a couple years to true teens.

I'll have to try your cake pan trick. That was great.

Sijbrich said...

One thing that I love and find very refreshing about your kids is that they don't get caught up in the commercialism of stuff like Hannah Montana. I noticed it, as well, in the thank you cards they sent us last week - they had all made their own unique cards and there wasn't a single Disney character or Barbie sticker.

Happy belated birthday Savanna!

Lucy said...

Savanna is clearly a special eleven year old. I have an eleven year old journal myself and it isn't pretty.

What a lovely party. I especially loved the fake cake.