A Wish for My Daughter

Photograph by Boudist

My daughter turned twelve this week. I remember twelve.  Something about twelve made me want to linger. Maybe it was because I knew it was my last year before lurching into teenagedom. Somehow at twelve stickers and stuffed animals still seemed acceptable, but at thirteen the pressure to try and grow up was on. And that was in the 1980’s, the decade of yuppies and excess hair and ridiculous shoulder pads and fluorescent fashion explosions.

Strange how compared to today, the 1980’s appear relatively innocent and naive… it’s as if our lives pre-Internet have become equivalent to the times of a horse drawn carriage. Quaint. Simple. Charming. In the 80’s I could impress friends when I travelled home to London over summers, bringing back with me a treasure trove of cassettes – UK bands that no one in LA had heard of yet. That was serious kudos.

Sadly kudos is harder to come by today. Everyone knows everything about everyone and everything. My children have been exposed to a barrage of images and information much sooner than I would have ever hoped for. So I resisted my 12 year old’s plea for her dad’s old iPhone, and for her 12th Birthday present I took her to see Florence and The Machine at The Hollywood Bowl instead.

And it was pure joy.

For those who know me and for those who have been reading this blog from the beginning, you will recall that I LOVE Florence Welch and her Machine. She is a truly exceptional role model for young girls and women. She’s gentle and fierce. Strong and vulnerable. Expressive and Free. Dramatic and real. She whirls across the stage like a magical nymph and has a voice like an angel. She weaves stories and tells truths through her lyrics. She asks the audience to move. She requested that all 18,000 of us jumped. And we did. I held tight to my twelve year old’s hand and we jumped as high as we could. And we sung. And we smiled. Florence gave us permission to play!

And I threw a wish into the stars. A wish for my daughter:

That she can hold onto twelve while it lasts.

That even though she is growing in an age that is so far from innocent, that somehow she will still seek out the mystical moments of delight that cannot be delivered via a screen.

That she will mature into a teenager and a woman who is not afraid to embrace the child she was once was. The child she is now.

That she will always feel free enough to jump with abandon.

Who knows what the future holds? She too may look back at twelve and reminisce about the clunky gadgets she used to long for.

“When I was your age we had an archaic gizmo called the iPhone. We all wanted one. Those were the days…”

What was your decade? Share a memory from when you were twelve. OR write for ten minutes using the word WISH as a springboard.

I hope to see you in the comments section! Thank you for joining me here at Write To Be You. I am tremendously grateful for your support and presence…

4 Responses to “A Wish for My Daughter”

  1. jen
    October 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Oh how you write! It felt like an ode to your beautiful daughter; an encapsulation of all the wishes we hold as mothers. A decade remembered is when I was twelve and how different I already felt in my growing feet. Not grounded at all! But lucky that my mom was.


  2. Kay
    October 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    This is so beautiful Rory and so like my wishes for my daughter and for myself! I am wafted back to our night with Florence in London a few years ago and how we laughed and swayed and imagined we were her. Fearless and gentle, ethereal and fierce, playful and touching. What a wonderful present for a precious 12 year old girl. xxxx

  3. Karen H.
    October 12, 2012 at 11:24 am #


    I need to jump into my writing. I have to dive into the gritty parts that hurt. The parts that make me want to run and hide and cover them up with lots of warm blankets and quilts so I can breeze over them and point to them saying things like “There’s a hard bit that I got through…. and here’s another, see that? You do don’t you?” I say these things so that I don’t have to go back down in that whole of grief for myself. I’ve been there once, and sometimes again and again because the pain has come back in other ways and forms, in other hard lessons of life.

    I’ve grieved, it seems to me, too much for someone my age. But lots of people have, and that’s who I want to write to. I want them to nod with agreement when I do pull back a layer or two recounting the pain without having to tell every detail. I will show them instead. And when they cry reading my words, as I do when I read theirs, I want them to feel loved and less lonely in their sadness. There are more of us out there. We just go around being very good at tucking blankets in around the hurt parts. Very good at it.

    So now it is time for me to JUMP!!! Wish me luck, cause here I go…..

    Karen H.
    (Mom of an almost 12 year old)

  4. Erin
    October 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Lovely, Rory, this is so beautiful. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t love the Florence and the Machine sound, but I loved your description of attending the concert with your daughter.

    I was twelve in the mid 90s. In my district, it was the last year students were at the elementary schools before they moved to the high school building (we didn’t have a middle school — though the district does, now). I’m terrible at remembering things, but I do recall the distinct passage from sixth to seventh grades. The stickers and stuffed animals, as you say, went from something everybody loved to childish things you hid. I do think growing up seems to be getting ever more complicated. It sounds like your daughter has a mother who has taught her well, though.

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