in which i admire some excellent teenagers.
August 6, 2011
today i got to spend some time hanging out with just Ananda, my girlfriend’s teenage daughter. she was pretty worn out from skating nine miles at the rose city roller’s skate o thon to raise money for the Rosebuds (the junior roller derby team of which she is a part) to go to Denver. afterwards she dragged herself to the car while i carried her gear (it was heavy; hard to believe she was wearing all of it while she skated!) and we went to the grocery store and then i took her out to eat at what seems to be her favorite restaurant of late, the Vita Cafe on Alberta Street. we got to talk about high school (still a year away!) and roller derby and age segregation and the camp she is attending soon (Youth Empowered Action Camp, a camp for inspiring kids to take political action and change the world, which she also attended last year). i really appreciated the chance to just talk with her, joke around, and eat yummy food. i hope i have more chances to give her and my girlfriend’s other two kiddos individual attention soon (my two kiddos also need some one-on-one time, for that matter… single parenting makes such things hard).
i also got to see more of Ananda while my teenage sister was visiting from Chicago. Going out with the two of them and my girlfriend was incredibly fun. We saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show (as documented in a previous post), went to a couple concerts, and ate out way more than we should of, including more donuts than i would normally consider humane to feed a person.
it’s nice to get to know these inspiring teenagers outside of the context of our larger family and for their own sake, and there are ways that they inspire me to be more true to myself (something i was better at before i became a teen parent and had to worry about what aspects of myself might prevent other parents from wanting their kiddos to play with mine). seeing Ananda surrounded by a bunch of other neato teenagers who seem supportive of who she is, and seeing my sister boldly being herself despite whatever fools back in our hometown might think or do (just like i did when i was her age!) is awesome. it also reminds me that one day all five of the kiddos in my life will be in this teen stage and it won’t matter as much whether the other parents think i’m peachy keen or a queer satanic weirdo. 😉
it can be hard to remember that i’m the same person i was when i first became a parent… i’ve attempted to submerge a bunch of things about myself in order to (moderately more) smoothly move through the world of parenting. but i don’t want my children to grow up and do that to any great extent. maybe with these awesome teens in their lives, they won’t feel like they have to.