To celebrate, she had a small emoji/texting themed birthday party at our house with her very best friends. I made her invitations and then printed them out on photo paper. I thought I was all cool and stuff using hashtags, emoji's, and texting lingo on them! Even Isabelle was (a teeny bit) impressed!
The kids watched a PG-13 rated movie of Isabelle's choice (she chose Poltergeist), and I made a game with cups covered in tissue paper, inside each cup was a prize- maybe $5, maybe a plastic spoon, maybe a gift card to the BX, or maybe a ball of tape, no one knows. The kids had to throw a dart at it to puncture the paper to win the prize, but I spaced the cups out unevenly so that it wasn't all that easy to hit the target. I worried that it was maybe a little too childish for a of bunch pre-teen/teenagers, but surprisingly, it was a hit! Once they found out there was money to be won, it got a little intense, and kept them busy for a good 1/2 hour or so.
The entire evening consisted of a LOT of junk food, giggling, screaming, laughing, and squealing, and Isabelle slept most of the next day, so we were pretty confident that her party was a success!
I'll admit that I'm a little nervous about what the next few years have in store for us. I remember very well what it was like to be a teen aged daughter, and I know that the next few years are going to be a mix of difficult and amazing moments for her, and by default, us too.
While Isabelle navigates the trials of being a middle schooler, we have had to navigate being parents to one. Eric and I have had to learn the hard way that we can do everything in our power to control what she is exposed to and help her understand how to interpret those things we have allowed into her world, only to find out that we have NO control on the things she is exposed to after she has left our house for the day, thereby dictating our parenting, whether we like it or not.
We've discovered parenting a child at this age is like playing dodge ball, except for bouncing balls that sting when they hit your face, we're dodging things like kids discovering their sexuality and their parents' reactions to that and how that makes Isabelle feel, kids that are allowed to start dating (Isabelle is absolutely NOT one of them) and how the foundation of a relationship between 12-13 year old's is pure drama, kids who she thought were friends but turned out not to be, and kids that have the ability to say the meanest things through every which way except their lips.
So basically.... our faces sting pretty much all the time.
But Isabelle has displayed enormous maturity in almost every situation she has been put into, and just when Eric and I are sure we're failing at this parenting thing, she shows us that she is handling life in her usual breezy way.... with a lot of compassion, understanding, and acceptance. Leaving us breathless.
So maybe we'll all get through the next few years just fine, and maybe they won't be as dodgy as I think they'll be, because Isabelle is absolutely incredible! And we are SO lucky to be her parents!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISABELLE!! YOU ARE SO LOVED!