Yesterday - after the visit to the Cat hospital to visit Loki, the newest and therefore immediately sick and needing serious medical attention member of our family - Emily and her father had their First Annual "Arguing over homework" fiesta.
It ended, predictably, with her in tears, Him yelling and her retreating to her bedroom.
However, there is a change. She shuts her door now.
The child who refused to shut her door for the past 12 years - to the point of screaming and vomiting and writhing around on the floor- has suddenly discovered that Shutting her door = Being Left Alone.
I had noticed this earlier in the summer, but kept quiet. She IS 12, after all. Her life is rightfully changing into Hers... in a way that does not privilege Terrance nor I. Stronger Boundaries are being built - Delineations between Her privacy and what she wants to share.
Its funny being on the outside looking in at her. Logically, I know lots of things about this stage in her life. Logically, I know that her need for privacy is right and good. That I am raising a healthy, strong girl, and that part of that means separating her identity from mine, from her father. I know that there will be more secret keeping and that I will have to negotiate access in a very different way in order to make sure that the balance between healthy secret keeping and bad decision making is attained.
When Terrance heard the door shut, he immediately came into the hall. "Emily? Is everything Ok? Are you OK?"
He opens the door and looks at her. She is sitting in her bed doing her homework.
Her tone is that of an exasperated teen. "Yeah Dad - I'm Fine. I'm just doing my homework."
He closes the door and walks into my bedroom. I meet his eyes.
"She's 12", I say.
"I forget she is 12", he says.
"There is no forgetting. ", I say.
Our baby bird is building her own nest.