You watch your daughter, coming to terms with being 12. She’s not a little girl, nor a teenager (quite) She’s just… boring old 12. Annoying old 12. Pimple spots introducing themselves from around every corner, limbs resembling a baby giraffe. What used to be funny is now just damn right embarrassing. Especially her Mom. And her brother. Oh, and the fact that the cat is called puss. How embarrassing. Everything is different. A list of insecurities growing as quickly as her feet. Your beautiful girl is just being 12.
A lack of confidence.
A lack of confidence in our child is what every parent dreads. And 12 seems to be the year when her confidence takes a bashing.
As mothers, we are always telling our children, “Be who you are! Don’t worry what people think of you! Just love being you!”
I am not 12. I am 46 (still hurts to say it). And today I woke up to a big fat spot on the side of my face. For a moment, I was right back to being 12 again. To that feeling of puberty. When you looked in the mirror and saw something else to add to the growing list of insecurities that you were humping around with you.
“Where the hell has that come from?” Is what flickered through my mind for all of about three seconds.
But then I remembered something far more important that I had to worry about.
We had run out of toilet rolls last night.
If the kids were to use the kitchen paper towel when they visited the toilet this morning it would block up the septic tank.
Not a nice thought, but one much more important than the offending spot gracing my face.
Off to the shop I go. New face guest in tow.
Ah, how bliss it is to be 46 and not give a damn about a stupid spot.
Fast forward five hours. Sitting next to my 12-year-old daughter in the car. Although we have been together all day, still, she has failed to notice this new addition. Until now.
“What is that on your cheek?” She asks, in a tone that is reserved only for mothers and daughters.
“A spot! See! Even adults get pimple spots!” I hoped my voice didn’t sound too much like Minnie Mouse. It sometimes does when I get nervous.
It was said in a, ‘Look at me! I’m 46, I’ve got a spot and I’m so cool about it’ sort of way. To reassure, not myself, but her.
Or maybe both of us.
The reasoning behind that?
I look at this beautiful girl. A girl who, as of late, gives me a daily list of insecurities that she’s worried about. I try to be very aware of not saying the wrong thing when she comes to me with these enormous worries. Sometimes I succeed, but mostly I don’t. So far this week my beautiful girl has worried and fretted about the following:
The Current List of Insecurities Plaguing My 12-year-old Girl:
- The new knickers that you bought me (2 weeks ago) show through my dance shorts
- My lips are getting too big for my flute (honestly) and it’s not blowing right
- I think there are fleas in my bed (new kittens, so fair point), my back’s itchy
- I’ve got a mono brow
- I’m too tall
- My t-shirt isn’t white anymore (hands up to that one)
- I’ve got too many moles
- My feet are massive
- I can’t sing (not true)
- I’m too quiet (definitely not true) I
- ’m a show-off
- My fingers are too long (great for playing the piano) I
- ’m not cool (join the club)
- My hair is going brown
- My eyes are neither brown nor green
- I’m rubbish at math
Ohhhh …I could go on and on.
My wonderful girl is 12. She’s beautiful, she’s talented. She’s kind.
But she’s 12. And she is starting to get pimple spots on that lovely face of hers. Along with every other delight that Mother Nature serves up at this age.
And remember how hard that was when you were 12?
And I think I’ve got problems, with an overflowing septic tank.
So, my lesson and hope for today?
Is that when she saw me, with my massive peri menopause caused spot, facing the world without an ounce of concealer on (it’s run out anyway) she took something away. Even a little tiddly, 12-year-old something. And logged it, into that beautiful brain of hers. This world has enough female insecurities. Quite enough thank you. I’m determined they’re not going to weave their way too deeply into my 12-year-olds life. I’m trying, I really am. In a way that I know that we all are.
Note to the 12-year-old Girl With or Without Pimple Spots and Big Feet
Please know that you’re gorgeous. Know that it wouldn’t matter if you had 20 million pimple spots and eyebrow hairs and lips and fleas and yellowy white tshirts and brown hair and David Bowie coloured eyes – you’ll still always be gorgeous. Because you are you. Because you are 12. Because I love you.
Thank you, spot. Thank you age… Thank you toilet rolls.