I couldn't tell if she was joking, until she started to cry. "You're always so mean to me and then you give this little laugh, like it's supposed to be alright. But, it's mean."
Okay, so that's bringing you in on the middle of this story.
I'm one of those people that trades insults and barbs with my closest friends. I guess I picked this up from things on TV, where it is cute to cut one another down, in a friendly way. I've been that way with all my best friends. My last best friend and I could cut one another in almost every sentence and never doubted that it was lovingly picking on one another. Each of us gave as good as we took. And, we were very good friends.
As I got comfortable with Sydney, I started to poke at her more and more, just like she said, with a little laugh or smile that means I'm kidding and I love you. See? If I didn't love you, I'd never say these things to your face and you know they're not true.
And, sydney had gotten into it, beginning to toss out barbs, just like I did and I pretended to take offense, just like I thought she did. Nothing serious. Never leading to an actual argument, because we were always kidding, right?
But, trading barbs with a gay man of my same age who knows all my secrets and vulnerabilities is apparently not the same as trading barbs with a vulnerable 13 year old young woman, who can't decide if she is happy about being big boned, doesn't know if dimples are okay, doesn't know if tan is good or "too hispanic", and simultaneously loves and loathes the natural body in her hair.
You also need to know that our comeback to one another for a while has been "you're so mean to me" so when she said it last night, I just laughed and didn't take her seriously. It took her a few minutes to actually get my serious attention, but when she got it, she had all of it.
And, my apology.
And, my heart swelled up with pride. She stood up for herself. In the right way. Like a young woman. Not shouting, but not backing down, either.
Oh, sure. This morning, she acted all of eight and a half again, but last night, I think I got to see a little glimpse of the woman she's going to become. And, I liked it.
I think vacation affected her. I think being around the horses and nice people and acting a little more grown up changed her...or maybe not so much changed as allowed her to develop a bit more...gave her confidence to say what she's feeling. And, I hope my appropriately apologetic response will encourage her to do it again.
Jeez, we're going to be in big trouble, aren't we?
P.S. I know this is supposed to be a quilting blog, but I'm having the biggest quilter's block about that quilt I was piecing in Arkansas. I made a wrong turn on the borders and can't figure out what to do. l