Slowly, I realize your pencil is sharpest while my eyes are averted. Your attention is focused on the page, on the numbers, on the words you are meant to memorize when I hold my tongue.
You are every day so much more your own person – conscientious, creative, sharp-witted, smart – and you prefer not to filter yourself through the words or the gaze or the systems designed by your mother. I get it. I was where you are once.
I respect your choices. I respect your desires. I appreciate that good work, good grammar, completion of anything you begin matters to you. This is everything. This is … you becoming you.
As I, again, become me.
I am still your mom. I will always be your mom, wanting you to succeed, offering to put myself, my life, my own choices, desires, preferences on the line for you, even as you silently show me this isn’t what you need. Or want.
But this is my struggle: Being me, just me, knowing I am enough on my own. I am enough when I step back, when I talk about something other than you, when there is space between us. I am enough when I do me.
This is a middle school lesson I must learn – and not only for myself, which is why it may stick.
This stepping back is how I let you do you, too.