I live with a teenage girl.
I know what you're thinking - Wait a second - she has three boys. And a husband. And a dog. And a cat. No girls. What am I missing here?
You're not missing anything. I do live with a teenage girl. She's a lot like me, just... younger. And sometimes she needs extra attention. Which I've been giving her this week.
Let me tell you - when the teenage girl inside of me is happy and getting her needs met, everyone wins. And when she's hurting... let's not even go there.
We all have our wounds - the hurts, large and small, that help mold and shape us into the neurotic adults we become. Mine seem to have clustered around the younger teen years, especially in the peer relationship department. I had a Best Friend (thank God) but other than her, no one else really "got" me.
As a result, I have this lovely, creative, wacky, non-conformist, sensitive person still hanging around who never quite got her act together when she was supposed to. She used to wreak a lot of havoc in my life, but now that I know she's there and know how to take care of her, we get along a lot better.
She likes being with her Best Friends. Friends are important, but they can't be just anyone - they have to be friends who "get" her - who challenge and stimulate her and appeal to her unique sense of fun. I'm glad I've been able to find some wonderful friends who excite and nurture us both, and I've been doing my best to make spending time with them and letting them know how much we value them a priority in our life. This makes her happy.
She likes to Write. This young teenager truly believed she was going to be a writer someday, and devoted a large portion of her life to working at this. Giving her extra time and space to write also makes her happy.
And she likes to Do Things. Getting together with her Most Excellent Friends to hike and shop and have coffee and take martial arts classes and talk about books and compare notes on how our novels are coming and plan road trips together... it's all wonderful, wonderful food for this wonderful girl I live with who could have used much more of all this when she was younger.
Feeling so grateful tonight for all of these things that make my Inner Teen so happy and whole, and for the wonderful people in our life who "get" us both.