At this very moment, there are eleven -- count that -- eleven 12-13 year old girls downstairs for my daughter's 12th birthday. They are a trip to watch. Earlier this evening, each time a new girl would get dropped off by a parent, the whole troupe would run to the door and have a tremendous group hug for the arrivee, everyone talking at once. We eventually sat them all down for pizza and had each one go around the table, say their name, tell their favorite color, and state one of the most embarrassing things that had ever happened to them. Now that was rich. The expressions were marvelous. Everything form lost diapers, missing underwear, wearing pajamas to school, or saying stupid things like the time by daughter left a voice message for a friend, ending with, "well, I'll see you tomorrow, in Jesus name, Amen."
I love 12-year old girls. There's no teenage attitude yet, no cool factor in play, and yet they're changing. You can see the future written in their faces and, if you know their Moms, you can often see their Moms in them. They still love to play. They had two games of sardines in the dark and, honestly, the decibel level was dangerously high from all the screams. We'll be very, very tired tomorrow.
But we love this. I could do it every week. When I watch them I sometimes realize what I lacked in my growing up. I don't remember having any birthday parties, though I'm sure I did. I don't remember huge slumber parties. I had two close friends, and I remember them well. But I did not have the rich web of friendships my children have. Now before you say "you poor, poor boy," you should know that I'm sure a good part of that was me. I am an introvert, and I'm happy with that. I really enjoy being with a few people, like a whole lot more but don't care to see them too often, try to love all as Christ would, and, well, enjoy time alone everyday. People wear me out. So if you see me, on occasion, eating lunch alone at a restaurant, reading a book, don't say what I used to say about such folk -- "that poor man, he has no friends." I have great friends. It's just that sometimes I need to be alone, so I can think, so I can try and make sense of what's going on or reflect on life via the fictional characters in a good novel. (By the way, I love this Q&A about introverts here.)
Introvert that I am, I have to leave the girls for awhile and retreat to my study, like I am doing now. They were last heard singing along to the evening movie, High School Musical, loudly, and even dancing some. They're absolutely great. And tomorrow, when they're gone, and I think about them, I know I'll smile. Wouldn't you? So if you see me sitting alone, and smiling, don't ask me if I'm OK. I am. I'm just thinking about my middle school musical. eleven 12-year old girls, a snapshot of a moment in time, something to treasure. I hope something of that 12-year oldness carries on into adulthood. I hope they can still play.