Good Morning and welcome to Coffee Chat!

Today is a very special day - Angel Girl is ten years old today!!
Here we are having fun with Snapchat.
Because she's 10 y'all and the siren call of social media is a deafening roar.

I'll be honest in saying it feels more like she's turning 13 already, because it truly seems like we are smack dab in the midst of teen drama, angst, backtalk, emotional upheaval one minute, joyous bursting the next.   Like I'm so confused.

Yeah that might also represent myself having a mini tantrum.
Because sometimes when dealing with an emotional ten year old, you actually become an emotional ten year old yourself.

I'd also like to apologize to my own mother.  I don't know exactly what... just, sorry mom.

Anyway, before the tide turns and sweeps in the 400th emotion for the last hour, let's get straight to the topic.

Time out for Mom

Tuesday, April 11th,2017

It's Angel Girl's birthday today.  
What advice would you go back and 
give your 10 year old self?

When I was ten years old, we moved to a new city.
I had a new step father.   A new school.   A  new church. 
And not a single friend.
And no family close by either.

Everything was new.  Besides my mother, not a single thing was known, or even familiar to me.   Even the channels on the TV listing were completely different.  Like it took forever to find Scooby Doo and the X-Men.   Discovering Three's Company was a pretty cool accident though.  Until the parental unit caught me watching.  Jack Tripper was not kid friendly I guess.   Funny how it seems so harmless now.

I am sure it must have been a hard adjustment, in particular suddenly having a father.   Which didn't turn out well in the end at all -- but I wouldn't learn that for another 4 years.   I am sure there must have been moments of panic, heartache, confusion, doubt -- even anger.    All of this newness timed with the onslaught of puberty.

Fabulous.    *that was in my sarcasm font in case you missed it*

I am sure it must have been very difficult walking into the new school for the first time.  Not knowing a single friendly face.   Let alone any of the teachers.   Since we lived close to the school, I walked -- but I must have walked alone.   And there not likely any one to talk new outfits with on the phone before that usually exciting first day of school. 

Nothing was familiar.  Not the faces, nor the landscape.   There was nothing to cast an anchor against in case I felt like sinking.   I am sure I felt adrift much of the time.

Except, I say "I am sure," but the truth is, I don't really know.   I mean it seems a certain probability; because of course I had moved.  Yet, I don't really remember any of that in vivid detail.

What I do remember is how all the kids in our neighborhood block would gather in the park every night and play.  Until either we were called to supper, or the lights turned on.   I remember us girls all walking to school in a big group, rolling our eyes at the comments made by the group of boys following behind.  I remember the recesses spent playing sports, or hopscotch, or just sitting talking.  And laughing.  I remember lots of laughing.  I remember crawling along the townhouse roof-line to my best friends bedroom window 3 houses down, and climbing through to have an impromptu sleepover.  Or her quietly knocking on my own bedroom window in the middle of the night.  Difficult fathers a common theme shared, and how our mothers oddly did not discipline us for this odd behaviour.   Although please stop eating potato chips in the bed please!

I remember my favourite teacher and how he was also the coach who inspired me to bravely just keep trying!   His strong but calm voice talking my nerves down before a race or a game.  How he taught me lessons of toughness, but always fair play.  His absolute confidence in me when our team was down a goal, and he'd put me in with the instruction, "get her the ball."   And they did, and I did.  And no one was surprised.   And 30 odd years later how much that still means to a girls confidence.  Because sometimes, we do still have that small voice in our head.   

I remember the teacher who inspired the creative side in me - allowing me to read poetry and stories in front of my class.  Once even a play that my class performed.  I remember how both teacher coach and creative coach stood by the sidelines when with shaking knees I gave the Valedictorian Speech at my Grade 8 graduation.  Looking almost as proud as my own parents.

The difference in remember the good and letting go of what was surely bad, at least for awhile; is the same now as it was then.   You just gotta open your heart to new possibilities and allow it to see all the beauty that waits.   I could have kept my head down each lonely walk to school, not seeing the smile offered as another girl passed by.   In lifting my head high and focusing my gaze - it landed on a potential friend.   And all it took was a shared smile. 

Maybe things were easier back then, but I still think the basic principle remains.  You can either face what's ahead with a seeking heart and give it your best; or you can keep walking alone and fearful.    New city, new school, new faces - it doesn't matter.  If you take the chance, I can promise you it's the good feeling you will remember.  And the bad feelings will fade as surely as the old memories moving over to make room for all the new ones you will be making.

But, you gotta make room for them.

This is the nugget of wisdom I leave for you Angel Girl.  That the new always seems a bit scary and resistance to change the natural course.   And I know confusion and frustration make terrible communication partners.   Just remember: keep trying, be strong, play fair and dare to be different every now and then.   And when it's your turn on the field - just go get that ball and kick the crap out of it.   It's only the missed chances you'll truly regret.

And never forget, you'll never be alone --- you've always got one cheerleader on the sidelines cheering you on.

But yeah, the potato chips in bed thing; I'm with grandma on that one.
Don't do that.

Next Week:  I don't know why, but Spring always makes me feel like I need a new outfit.  What would you buy to welcome the new Season?