Had a big old swing-and-a-miss over the weekend. I’m betting they heard that whoosh two counties over as I kicked up a cloud of dirt Saturday morning. Gotta love when you bail out before you’re even finished your coffee, amiright?

Short version: Bear wanted to go to the movies and dinner with a couple of friends from her new school. My first reaction? Sure, sounds great, I’ll be happy to take you. No, I don’t want to sit through a movie with 12-year-old girls but no, I’m not leaving you alone in that huge/dark/crowded shopping complex. I won’t sit anywhere near you in the theater. There was a bit of back and forth, and it was right after she asked if I had to sit at the same table as them (for the dinner the little sweetheart wanted me to buy) that I kicked her out of the room.

Sure, I’d like to say it was so I could calmly reflect on the situation, but the truth is another thought was pounding through my brain.

You see, I’m struggling here.

Bear’s a great kid. She’s twelve, she makes (mostly) good choices, she’s (usually) responsible. I’d say she rates solidly above average on the “I can trust you won’t set the house on fire” scale.

But she’s twelve. There’s middle school brain at play and girl swooshiness (those of you with girls know what I’m sayin’) and, Lord help us, boys.

She’s smart, but in an not-quite-fully-baked-teen-girl sort of way. She’s responsible, but she can’t drive. She likes her friends, but I don’t even really know these kids yet.

I’m getting whiplash from the flexibility required to parent a not-little-girl, not-yet-grown chica.

To her credit, Bear was gracious when I showed up in her room later that day to explain that sometimes mama needs a moment to process. Because even though we treat her with the respect and responsibility accorded a young woman, sometimes it can still be hard to remember she’s a young woman.

Then again, maybe she was just shocked by my presentation.

(mama got it wrong, yada yada yada)  But here’s what you need to remember. This falls under the giving you enough rope to hang yourself category. Yes, I’ll trust you to be responsible, do the right thing, and stay safe in a group. But know this – you think this is a big place, crowded with movie goers, anonymous, but it’s not. This is a small town, there are eyes everywhere, and it will get back to me. You decide to leave, you act the fool, you meet some guys and decide to run across the street for a soda and I Will Hear About It and then I’ll be so far up your butt…well, let’s just say you’ll be sorry you didn’t act right the first time. Capisce?

I guess you could say we have a special shorthand.

The girl’s grown, but not grown, but grown enough to feel it. I’m working on it, okay?