So, it's not me. (though thank you for thinking I could be a teenager ;-p)
It's not my daughter. (On my knees with thankfulness)
But it is a family member. And that scares the living daylights out of me.
I was reading GoodGoogs blog today, about losing a pet and how she is grieving. I was thinking about our recent loss, as well as our pets. Grief and Loss suck big time, but it is still better to have been through the wonderful love that caused the grief to be so painful.
This little girl has barely begun to live. She has a lot of difficulties to overcome and she's a lot like I was at her age. This could be where my feelings of (obviously) misplaced confidence in her recovery from Anorexia came from, knowing that in 20 years or so, she's gunna figure it out and things will be all good. Her Mum was feeling more confident too. Now we know there is SO much more to be done and I don't have the foggiest what to do. Psychology should be compulsory studies for everyone!
Our family is so distant from each other now and I think this is part of it. The community of caring is stretched out over phone lines, the internet and long drives. People who could share the burdens for worried parents are not part of their everyday lives. Trusted family members who could help the young ones see things from different perspectives don't know the background of their high schools, their friend groups. People who could be someone to talk too that are less emotionally entwined aren't easily accessible to a teen - what teen's going to call someone who is nearly forty to have a natter? But when I am there, we always have some time together. To have someone who only wants the best for you, but isn't emotionally involved to the point where hearing something bad can send them into panic. (Well, that's me and my Marmie, anyway, other family members aren't as prone to panic) We are NOT easily accessible anymore. It's not the case that a young person is just waiting for the next Sunday visit to catch her cousin/aunt/uncle for a conversation.
I remember the first time my niece visited us , at about age 5. She had some really unladylike habits and I didn't even try to hide my disgust. (Nice Aunty, aren't I?) My pretty little niece, with her long, wavy blond hair, her smile that would win over strangers, was quite surprised at my reaction. Not because her Mum and Dad condoned this icky behaviour at all, they were always telling her it was unpleasant and suggesting a more pleasant alternative. It was because she simply didn't believe that what they were saying was important. Didn't believe that it was upsetting to anyone but them. It was quite amazing, as by the end of the week, she had ceased these indelicate behaviours and found new reactions.
My sister and I now discuss ahead of time what she feels are the "priority" behaviour issues she would love to have me react too. It's a good system. I hope when my niece becomes a teenager, she will feel comfortable talking to me about things she may not want to mention to her Mum just yet.
Imagine if we were all living close enough to see each other every week. Or even fortnight. Imagine the effect this could have on all our young people, seeing all the different responses, different opinions and different ideas, all coming from people whom they know love them and are trustworthy. I had this growing up. My daughter has one Uncle whom we see often and I have worked hard to find other adults whom she can rely on, like her tutors, circus friends and some close friends.
There will be another family funeral this year, from that nasty cancer. I don't want it to become three.
So I resolve - To call said family member at least once a week.
To replace her phone next time it dies. ;-)
To hope. Really hard.
And then put on Ke$ha really loud and dance with my Princess till we are smiling again.