February 26, 2018

She’s at the age between needing her parents and trying to do it all on her own. 13. Her independence always catches Paul and me off guard because she didn’t venture far away from holding onto my knee when she was little. I credit softball, a circle of good friends both young and old, teachers, and coaches for sparking her can-do attitude. If you’re thinking that might have been you, then you’re probably right. We thank you for your efforts to speak into her life.

She was the preemie and I went home from the hospital without my baby. She spent 10 days in the NICU at one local hospital dealing with apnea. But she did come home, and my preemiest grew taller than me when she was only 12. She’s still growing, and if my feet grow 3 more sizes, then she and I might someday share shoes.

She had a tricycle accident when she was 3. Nobody has tricycle accidents, but she did. Her trike went down over the edge of our creek and she fell 10 feet to the bottom and smashed her skull. She had surgery and spent 8 days at another local hospital. But she did come home, and despite being terrified of bikes for many years, she did learn how to ride. Some of my favorite memories of her are watching her speed down the driveway past the creek on her bike.

She seems prone to strep throat and various other afflictions. And what I’ve learned by being her mother is that nobody does suffering and malaise like My Lovely. She has been bested by a “debilitating” hangnail, and I’ve seen minor boo-boos bring her to her knees.

But the first season she played softball, before she knew anything about the game, I watched her on the field throwing the ball with her Dad while she was wearing a boot with crutches because she had stepped on a 6 inch nail. Toe tendonitis slowed her down for one season, but she kept going. And when she broke her wrist playing in the snow, she impatiently wore a cast until it was cut off the day of Little League team evaluations. She’s been bruised and knocked down and run over on the field, and she has cried. But softball seems to be the thing that motivates her to get over it.

We spent the last few evenings talking about her future in softball. Her current team is likely breaking up, so Paul has put out some feelers looking for a new team that might need a great catcher with long legs and a quick arm. She was scheduled to practice with 2 different teams this week. But last night she collapsed on the floor in pain and we ended up in another local hospital. She has possible kidney stones and an infection. As we all know, there are moments of immodesty when we are in the hospital. It’s an honor to be her mother and to help her in those moments when she isn’t able to help herself.

And my girl has laid on the couch moaning under a blanket all day. She’s in some pain and worn out from being in the hospital until after 1:00 this morning. Since the Middle Schooler is generally too grown to just snuggle with me on purpose, I didn’t expect her to grab me when I checked on her. She held onto my knees and laid her head on my lap. She purposed to pull me in and she didn’t seem to want to let go.

The plan for the day would have been school, shopping for a friend’s birthday, and softball. But instead, she and I napped and snuggled. She asked for Panera for dinner and she ate it on the couch then snuggled more. And now she is asleep with her head in her Dad’s lap, and I hate to wake her for her meds.

This girl, 13, vacillates between pulling away and pulling us in. She is figuring herself out, trying things out, and throwing out what doesn’t work for her. She was born Lauren, changed to Lauryn, and now she is back to Lauren again. She likes new hot jam from Halsey and Khalid and Bruno, but she surprises me with some Train and Avril Lavigne and Vanessa Carlton songs that are older than she is. She won’t tolerate the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac, and she is annoyed that I will not let her listen to Ed Sheeran in my chariot. But my knees and our laps are safe places to snuggle herself when the pain is too much or when she can’t figure things out herself. We love you Lauren.

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