Age Thirteen

My typical daughter, Sasha was recently in her middle school musical. When we were reviewing the performance I mentioned one of the actresses I thought did a great job.

“What grade is she in?” I asked.

“She’s in seventh grade. She’s Alaina’s age.” My daughter said casually.

She’s Alaina’s age?

My face dropped.

I felt the familiar feelings.

A combination of shock and sorrow.

That’s what girls in seventh grade are like?

This 13 year old girl..she was so..so

so older,

so funny,

so focused,

so verbal.

I squinted my eyes to picture my Alaina up on the stage in a musical.

I pretended she was the funny and verbal seventh grader.

What would that be like?

What would she

look like,

act like

without autism?

And the feeling of loss rolled over me like a wave.

Living a life with special needs is a constant cycle of losing and finding.

Losing the dream

finding the diagnosis.

Losing sleep

finding coffee.

Losing my mind

finding grace.

Losing my expectations of who I thought she or any girl should be at thirteen.

My daughter is not the thirteen year old girl on the stage.

She is not the thirteen year old girl of my memories:

Mixed tapes, folded notes, and Malibu Musk at the school dance.

And yet she is thirteen.

We are leg shaving,

bra wearing,

zit-popping,

hormone cycling over here.

And we are also

laughing over

Baby Bop,

Songs from the Park,

and Play dough.

So, like many autism moms, I am finding my way through a whole new world of thirteen.

Heartache.

Hormones.

Hope.

I hope my girl knows that her thirteen can be HER thirteen.

I can let go of the girl on the stage’s thirteen.

My 1990 thirteen.

And her sister’s soon to be thirteen.

And just let her be her own.

Every age.

Every year.

A new find.

Written by, Kristin Pattison who still loves a good mixed tape

Kristin Pattison and her husband raise their two beautiful daughters in Arizona.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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