It’s summer, so one of my nieces came to visit. This time it was the 13 year old, who I will call The Girl. We had a wonderful time, and I really miss her, but I am REALLY enjoying my quiet time, too.
Here are some things The Girl taught me that I should remember while planning the adoption:
Teenagers EAT. A LOT. She doesn’t eat a lot in one sitting but oh dear Gods and Goddesses, when she grazes she cuts a wider swath than a whole herd of goats. When figuring our monthly post-adoption budget, I’m clearly going to have to double (possibly triple) the grocery budget.
Going out: It takes 20 minutes for me to get ready. This includes showering, getting dressed, and finding my keys. It takes a teen girl a minimum of 2 hours. Half hour to 45 minutes for a shower. Half hour to dry and style hair. Half hour for makeup. Half hour to 1 hour to pull every piece of clothing she owns out of the dresser or closet or suitcase, hold it up in front of a mirror, and decide it just won’t do before putting on exactly what she wore the day before. This is merely for going to the grocery store. If we’re going to the mall or to dinner and a movie – double it.
Cleaning: to me, cleaning the kitchen means loading the dishwasher, putting all the clutter back where it belongs, wiping down the counters, sweeping and mopping. To a teenager, cleaning the kitchen means loading half the dishwasher, going to watch some tv. Loading the rest of the dishwasher, watch some tv. Wipe down those parts of the counter that don’t have things on them, txt a friend. Swiffer the floor without sweeping first, declare it done, express pride in how well it was done, and watch more tv. I will have to remember to break down an assigned chore into the smallest bits possible, and accept that it will STILL not be done to my standards – but that it will be done, and I will be grateful for it. As The Girl’s Mom told me: let go of what you can’t control. Be happy to check something off the list, instead of pissy about the way it was done.
Finally: I’m never going to FEEL ready to adopt – but when it happens, we’re all going to be okay. I’m not going to break him or her, and I’m going to be able to deal with whatever comes up. Maybe not WELL, but I’ll manage.