Monday, October 22, 2012

Is 35 really that far away from 12??

Jessalyn and I share a birthday month.  In fact, she was born exactly a week after my 23rd birthday.  I've always loved her birthday (as I do all of my kids), but I am not much of a party planner.  When they are little it is fun to celebrate with family,  but as they get older and they want friends to come it starts to require a bit more 'planning'.  I don't really enjoy it.  I've been saying ever since she was in kindergarten (which was about the time that 'friend' parties started) that I can't wait for the time when she is old enough to plan her own party and be entertained without requiring much planning on my part.

It has been getting better over the years, but this year was definitely that moment that I've been waiting for!  She celebrated her 12th birthday with her friends (a little earlier than her actual day) and it was a GREAT time.  There was a little work involved from Josh and I as we prepared the basement to set up her campout, helping her and her friends make pizza and then making them breakfast in the morning, but other than that I didn't have to plan a single thing to entertain the girls.

There were six of them including Jessalyn and they enjoyed partying the night away together doing the things that 12 year old girls do...or at least, what most 12 year old's do!  There was dancing, singing, hair do's, giggling, squealing, eating, running around outside....etc.

At one point they were upstairs hanging out with me and Truett (Josh and Ethan went to a movie, and Luke and Owen were at another birthday party).  They were talking about their "group" and how much time they spend together and how much they enjoy each other.  It instantly brought me back to when I was 12 and I started telling them about "my group" when I was their age.  They listened intently, quite interested and wanted to know who was in "our group".

I went on to list names....Emily, Viney, Sara, Natanya, Angela.... (I know there were more, but this was the core group of friends for the longest time)...

This conversation made me remember my 12th birthday and many other's with this exact 'group' of girls.  My sister in law Kirsten put it perfectly when she said "those were some of my best birthdays...old enough to stay up late, young enough to still be non-self conscious."

How true is that?!!

It is very bizarre to look back to when I was 12 and remember it like it wasn't 23 years ago!  Looking at Jessalyn and her friends brings back floods of memories of me and mine.  Looking back, I had no idea that the reason 12 year can have such great relationships has so much to do with just being accepted for who you are.

Of course, I remember always wanting to be one of my friends for one reason or another.  There were times when I envied the way that they were and stuff that they had.  I always wanted Emily's work ethic...and her clothes and swimming pool!  I always wished I was as smart and inventive as Viney...and love her mom and her super cool "A-frame" house, not to mention the bee's and sheep (and the big brother that I always had a crush on!).  I always wanted Sara's crazy fun personality and her PERFECTLY straight little "bob" haircut...with the natural wave in her bangs, also her house was always so fun to stay at.  We all wanted Natanya's log cabin and fun traditions that she got to do with her family during Hanukkah season!  Her mom was always super fun too....she definitely drove the "cool" bus!  And I always respected and wanted Angela's strong convictions and her hand writing!  And although she didn't go to my school, my friend Brandy who was the closest thing I had to a "sister" for a few years played a huge part in my life during this time as well.  I loved Brandy's family and the fun that we had there.  I thank Brandy for my mad "running man skills" as she was the best dancer I knew..who introduced me to how much fun it was to dance to "Color Me Badd":)

So many memories..I could go on and on.

But...even though I'm sure we all envied one another for one reason or another, we were all able to just BE who we were.  There was no faking, not a huge amount of pressure to be something that we were not.  I could still be "me"...the girl who would rather have a ball in her hand or riding a bike...the girl who never dressed up and always wore shorts/jeans and tshirts, had short hair...and who would be the only one still sleeping at 10 am after a sleepover.  "My group" accepted me that way.

I love that Jessalyn has friends like this right now.  Of course, it's not all happy all the time.  There is a fair share of drama that happens on a daily basis with this exact group of girls.  There is the added variable of technology that we did not have as 12 year old's.  Ipods, cell phones, texting, social changes how kids communicate today, but the overall relationship is much the same!  I'm thankful for her "group".

I'm also thankful that I still communicate (thanks to social media!) with all of my good friends from elementary school and beyond.  Of course, the girls that I listed above were my "12 year old group" and there were many additions and changes over the years.  I had very many friends who had a part in my childhood..and I fortunately have many good memories of this time in my life.

Was 12 really THAT far away?  It certainly doesn't feel like it at times!  Although, celebrating my 35th birthday and my own child's 12th birthday at the same time sure does make me feel old!!!

Also, interesting fact, my 12th year was the last year I spent without my husband in my life!  Will Jessalyn be fortunate enough to find her best friend...her husband... when she is 13?  I highly doubt it actually...if Josh has anything to say about it!!!  hahahaha