She’s 14. I’m 46. Both learning.

She’s always nervous about walking into an event. I did the same thing when I was 14.

When I watch her get out of the car, gather up her things, and nervously shut the door, I remember what it was like.

As she crosses in front of my car, chews at her fingernail, and look around anxiously, I can feel the feeling.

But she keeps moving, walking toward the door carrying her bag. She’s looking ahead, fidgeting with her bag strap, and trying to look cool.

I’m proud.

I know her anxiety. I know her insecurities. I have seen her tics.

I have wiped tears. I have heard about who stared at her and who made a snide remark.

I have nodded enthusiastically about statement earrings and encouraged the desire to wear a dress.

I have received the worried texts, the “I think I’m ready to go” texts, the nobody-here-is-like-me texts.

But she goes in by herself, and I’m proud. I’m thankful she was willing to go. I’m cheering for her (silently, of course), because she seems eager to meet people. I’m grateful she seems confident in her outfit and walks tall. I’m over the moon that she’s hopeful, even optimistic, that she’ll have fun.

What lessons for both us! There she goes figuring things out, coming into herself, forming relationships, learning about the world.

Here I am still figuring things out, coming into myself, evaluating relationships, and growing despite the world.

I want to tell her to screw everyone, wear what makes her happy, and walk into that place like she owns it. I want her to eat the cake, talk about what she loves, and be herself. I want her to latch onto those good, genuine souls who make her laugh and feel good about herself.

She needs to know I feel it…I really do…like it was yesterday. She also needs to know I feel it today.

Your lessons were mine, and they still are. We are growing together, just 32 years apart. You’ve never been 14, and I’ve never been 46.

I can tell you that it does get better! But you’ll need these lessons always! I’m glad we are navigating them together.

Published by Amanda Herring, Writer

Practical wisdom, joys and pains, motivation and tough love, from the perspective of a Mississippi mom, traveler, business owner, goal crusher, substance seeker, and full-time dreamer

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