“The Tweenager Years”

Maddie will be 12 this Sunday. For some reason, this has felt like a milestone. She will celebrate the last of her “tweenager” years.

In an attempt to understand the “New Maddie” that’s been developing the last year or so, I’ve tried to remember back to when I was her age. Oddly enough, I don’t even remember turning 12. The only way I can remember being her age is by reflecting to the sixth grade and seventh grades. What thoughts did I have then? Who were my friends? Where did my interests lie?

Basically, my memories sum up to this: Friends were a big thing to me. The more hip they were, the better. Although I don’t know where any of them live now or what they do for a living, at the time my world revolved around them.

We didn’t have razor phones, ipods, Hollister hoodies, Abercrombie jeans, or Nike Shox, but there were Swatch watches, Coca-Cola shirts, Guess blue jeans, and Converse high-tops. Countless morning bus rides were spent oooohing and aaaahing over each other’s new items.

And of course there were boys. We were just beginning to notice that the male species wasn’t created just for aggravating the snot out of us. We had crushes on many, and the comments we would make about them make me blush as an adult. We were beginning to experiment with sexual jargon and profanity even though the meanings were unclear.

As I monitor my daughter’s internet usage and try my best to stay connected with what’s going on in her life, things are really not that much different. We didn’t have computers and the internet, so we were a bit more “sheltered” to the outside world, but the dangers were still out there. Kids were having sex and getting in trouble for things like vandalism and drug usage. These are not new issues. Perhaps they’re just more publicized today.

So, the next time you’re tempted to say, “When I was a kid, we didn’t…”, stop and think about it. Are you for certain that things really were all that different? Or is it just our memory that’s changed? 

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