Sunday, May 24, 2009

Talking to 15 Year Olds

Real conversation between me and my darling Little Sister (recently 15) today, outside Safeco Field:

Me: Do you want me to take a picture of you in front of the Home Plate sign?

Kirsten: IDK.

Me: Does that mean "I don't know" or did you mean to say "IDC," meaning you don't care?

Kirsten: Oh. I guess I meant to say "IDC." (wanders off while I wait for the light to change)

...30 seconds later...

Kirsten: Hello?! Aren't you going to take my picture?

She had assumed a seductive pose against a flower pot with the stadium as her backdrop. "IDC" means "yes please," as I learned today.

We are exactly ten years apart, and I love Kirsten so much for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that she is a walking, talking time capsule of who I was at her age. Ten years of social polishing make it so I can now say, "Yes, please" and "No, thank you" and a thousand other phrases expressing how I really feel (and a thousand more that I am trying to learn), but which she doesn't have in her arsenal yet. I love her nerves in social situations, love the way she holds situations and thoughts in her hands and examines them closely, like little bugs caught in a garden, love the way she is becoming the person she is meant to be in front of my very eyes (despite immense roadblocks and challenges that threaten her at every turn). She is a teenager, in all her glory, and I just want to scoop her up and let her know that absolutely everything will work out for her if she can just get through this awkward phase.
I want to say that I can't wait for the day when we both laugh together over the fact that she used to communicate with three-letter acronyms, but that would make it sound like I'm not enjoying the journey. And not just hers-- one of the great things about having a Little who is old enough to keep track of time with you is that one day, she will be able to laugh with me at my own foibles of my mid-twenties, and we can marvel together at how much we have changed. Until then, I will keep growing in my understanding of communication via abbreviations.

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