The #skatergirl started wearing my earrings this year. She’s 14 now. Flipping furiously from sweet girl to blossoming woman, I’ll admit I’ve had a hard time keeping up. Some of the changes that accompanied this transition were quiet and subtle, like trees in winter – patient. Others rolled in like a violent storm no one saw coming – a dangerous surprise with repercussions I couldn’t predict. Both slow and wild the changes are beautiful – all of them.
This is the springtime beauty of youth, the wilderness of her teenage years. Everything about her has come to life. She’s finding her voice and expressing her unique style. She’s dancing to the beat of her own drum – rocking out to a mashup of Lauryn Hill (her mama made sure she knew the greatness of the incomparable L-Boogie), Alicia Keys, Adele, Bruno Mars and of course, the Hamilton soundtrack.
And now, we share earrings.
Her ideas and opinions, the way she is like me and not, the way she shadows my movements and pushes my buttons are all signs of a change as sure as the sun. She’s an independent thinker, a young woman blazing her own glorious trail. She’s changing. And so am I.
It hasn’t been easy.
I’ve watched her suffer disappointment and make mistakes. I’ve celebrated her victories and cheered her through the dark room of doubt. I’ve watched her learn lessons about friendship and fight to establish an ethic of leadership that works for her personality. I’ve witnessed her pain in finding out what it feels like when we don’t tell our truth. To let all this happen, I learned to be quiet.
This post is about all that and more. It’s about how she wears my earrings now – my big hoops. One day, the precious studs and the birth-stoned jeweled clasps weren’t enough.
She wore them for the first-time last summer. When we stopped to take a photo somewhere near the halfway point of our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge I noticed the shimmer of my thinnest pair of silver hoop earrings peeking through the bush of hair framing her face.
She hadn’t asked to wear them that day. She wouldn’t ask again … because it wasn’t about the earrings. It never was.