8 and Becoming

April 21, 2020

She’s 8, almost 9, and she’s sweet as pie. She’s sensitive and kind. She’s compassionate and full of joy. And suddenly, she’s entertained the attitude and sass of a teenager. I’m not sure how the transformation started, but it came suddenly and without warning. 

Shouts and giggles of words and phrases that feel untimely and inappropriate. Spunk that is both showy and irritating. She looks the same, but something is different. She’s been given new freedom and independence. It might be the very thing responsible for the new teenager-isms. 

She spouts something to her father with extreme sass and attitude. He chuckles and stops it immediately. “Nope. Not happening. This attitude will not last, dear. You are 8. We aren’t allowing the teenage years to come early. Not happening. No attitude.” We all laugh. It’s quite amusing to see an 8 year-old acting as a teen, and a father whose reaction resembles Michael Scott from The Office. I’m amused by all of the performances happening in this house. 

As I look at our girl, I decide I will pause the time continuum. We will keep her little and naive and sweet for as long as we can. If only it was that easy. I’m not ready for the teenage years. She’s not ready. This house isn’t ready. Ready or not, a transformation has commenced.

She watches Disney shows with teens, analyzing each and every move. I can see the intrigue in her eyes. I can see the confusion from what she knows, versus what she sees. I can see the wonder in her head tilt. She contemplates where the cohesiveness is in being both her and the people she sees. She wonders if she will become them. She wonders how to become them.

Is this where she will learn the world’s expectations of her and for her? Is this where she learns the expectations of girls and youth? If so, I must act swiftly. I need to fill her mind, her time, and her heart with the good and the real. I need to show her truth. Not a theatrical version. 

She needs to see realness, genuineness, and authenticity. 

She won’t get that from a screen.

I didn’t expect to start the realness quiet yet. But she’s led the way and proven to be ready. Ready to ask tough questions and have them answered with truthful answers, even when they are hard and messy. Ready to take a deep look at who she is and who she will become. Ready to learn about goals, and consequences, and life. 

She’s only 8, almost 9, but she’s already becoming. 

I need to be ready. I need to be prepared. I need to be present and mindful. 

She’s becoming, losing more of her little each day. It’s both mesmerizing and gut-wrenching. I will not hold her back, I’ll simply be there to guide, inspire, and love her through it. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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