Minks. Age 11.
Time marked is, somehow, time not lost to its own ravages (it goes something like that anyway) so that when I think about the fact that my little girl -- the one that I had five years after her brother, when my office was in the garage and I used to feed her at my desk and she'd fall asleep on me while I was on conference calls trying to appear professional but all the while staring down at her perfect little milk-drunk face -- is now fifteen years old and that she will have her driver's permit six months from now, it is all a tiny bit surreal. On Valentine's Day, on a suprisingly springy and optimistic Southern California afternoon, accompanied by loud and competitive tweeting of birds, dogs being driven crazy by squawking squirrels, and lazy sun on the yellow acacias, we sat with our knees underneath ourselves on the deck, warming out wintery bodies, and she said to me "I'm not sure about this getting older thing, Mamma." Her brow is knotted and she's looking down at the cyclamens on the table (planted by her at Christmas 2008 and still strong). "I'm sort of not excited about it." Fifteen is daunting. It's not thirteen when you're a teenager and you can thumb your nose at the world. It's that age when the doctor is asking whether you're having your hpv vaccines and your friends are "hooking up" with boys, both real and imagined, when girls not much older than you are strutting gaunt down runways and staring, glossy-lipped and wanton into men's cameras. It's the age when you start being self-conscious and you feel grumpy in the morning if you haven't eaten anything but if you have you worry that your tummy is too fat. It's the age where you stare at your boobs and wonder if they'll grow more and if they do, whether you'll like that. It's when you worry about using the right products on your skin and hope that you don't get really bad acne and if you give up soda for Lent maybe you won't?
Pierre Auguste Renoir:
Gabrielle with a Rose, 1911
currently showing at LACMA
She sees so much. ("I think that woman was more than a nanny to Renoir's children" she said at the museum on Monday as we looked at a painting of a woman with a high blush in her cheek, her blouse open to reveal a full breast. I laughed. "You should be doing the audio tour" I replied.) Feels so much. Cares about everything.
I am so ridiculously proud of this person.