The other day, Maura and I went out. Originally, the plan was to just hit the drive-thru Starbuck’s (of which there are 327 in a five mile radius of my house, because Seattle.) But then she spotted “the mall” – aka our local shopping center.
I thought “Well, maybe I can herd the girl to Hallmark’s, where she can pick out something Christmasy.” You know, because the girl loves all things Christmas.
What I love is I think I have control of these situations.
We got three whole minutes into the store before she was like “I’m out.”
We walked through the shopping center. She ooo’ed at the decorations (which were quite nice) and I dissuaded her from a trip to Old Navy (I have enough laundry). We wandered past the food court and to what Maura refers to as the book store.
It’s actually a comic book store. But it sells My Little Pony and Powerpuff Girls graphic novels. Hence, it’s a bookstore.
I love that there are graphic novels like these. Maura doesn’t quite read – not in a phonetic way. She’s learned up to 60 sight words, and can recognize things, but traditional reading is not something she’s getting yet. Graphic novels though tell the story through pictures, and she understands that. So yes, I’m happily plopping down a $20 bill so she can read the way she can read, and enjoy books.
Because she is my kid. She enjoys a good book.
We paid for the book of her choice – a classic Powerpuff Girls version – and headed back to the car with bribes of Starbuck’s. Once in the car, Maura was suddenly bent over the book, nose almost to page, studying it intensely.
Suddenly, I had this moment to study her. My girl who, in her leggings and furry/suede boots and pink coat, was looking quite teenagerish before we left the house. But now, once again, I noted the softness to her face.
It’s part of whatever it is she has, her Sherlock Syndrome. Her face is softer. It’s probably more of the low muscle tone that she has. Or it could be just regular genetics – when I was 13, people thought I was maybe 10, tops. When I was 18, people thought I was 13. Maybe it’s a combination of low muscle tone and the family blessing of youthful looks. But she’s still such a kid. The baby of the family who has a babyface.
Maybe it’s also partially my own filtering of things – in so many ways, Maura is still quite “young”. Other 13 year old girls are trying make up and considering dating and wanting to watch “Supernatural” or “The Walking Dead” or whatever parents have been deeming them too young to view but now they think they’re old enough. Maura isn’t like that. She’s still loving the same cartoon she watched four, five years ago, or more. Heaven forbid she finds The Wonder Pets on Amazon. Those little rodents still make her giggle.
Her progress is slow. Sloth-like at times. And other times, she will surprise you with her little newfound teen will and angst. She has discovered Supergirl, despite my trying to lure her to the Wonder Woman side of things. She likes Coldplay despite her aunt trying to influence her to the techno side of things. She has definite taste in clothes – I don’t even fight her anymore on styles, just sizes.
But then, there’s that moment, sitting in the car, her nose pressed into a Powerpuff Girls book and I am reminded yet again how she will live with us forever. Not in a bad way, or a burden-like way. Just in a “This is how things are” way. Because honestly? She and I get along so well, like things like going to bookstores and coffee shops and being sloths on the sofa together while eating pizza – what’s to complain about?
It’s just that sometimes, I look at her face and the softness to it, and am once again reminded that my baby is always going to be my baby in many ways.