Tonight is Friday night date night with Kat, my baby, who is officially 9 years old.
Thank God I have my mom, Divorcee, and a few doctors to prove I am actually her mother, seeing as she came out of the womb more responsible and definitely more mature than me.
She asked for a label maker for her 8th birthday, is punctual and responsible, STILL remembering the one day in Kindergarten I was late to school. One day of running late and the child has a book bag on years later, 30 minutes before my alarm, just in case. Baby Bro says she should have her own apartment. She is loyal and fierce, a nurturer and introvert with strong political statements, mainly about what a “Lepretarian” is, or Libertarian, Martin Luther King, who she threw herself on the bed in tears one day after school one day, sobbing,
“Mommy, they killed that man because of his skin! Why? Mommy, my heart can’t hold it.”
We pieced it back together with a birthday celebration for him, putting a place mat and candle on his cake in a pretend spot, her heart in silent memorial over this tragedy, and she has been my biggest teacher and greatest inspiration.
I knew she was older and wiser, but not a granny in a teeny body until this past year, a more serious and even embarrassed Kat is growing up despite all her Daddy’s fears, asking me to please call her Makaila around classmates.
She tells me I never wear my seat belt and I text too often while driving, shaking her head.
She wont even let me photograph her.
Only Lola makes her gut laugh, which is all the time, and so I sigh with some relief, wondering if Lola will pants the bus driver for attention and if Kat will have a nervous breakdown if she misses breakfast, a fact she points out is very important for health.
And so, let the labeling begin.
With my busy schedule and the new arrival of “The Collector,” I make dates with both girls alone, something I live for.
Kat’s biggest request I was dying on the inside but smiling at her enthusiasm that yes, people, we must go see…
I don’t have a particular opinion on the guy except he has a baby face and ridiculous lyrics on love for a little kid but she pulled me tight with her most serious face and a low whisper saying, “Mom, please. Daddy is jealous that Lola and I think he is hot.”
I didn’t know her and Lola even knew boys could be hot at 9, but I do vaguely remember “The Newsies,” a boy musical I watched 100 times, and of course, “Dirty Dancing.” I also know Kat is very political about her feelings about boys, unlike Lola who falls in love with every boy who sings a radio cover on You Tube.
Lola is five and faces the every day challenges of being a rock star, and so I groan.
Kat can hardly look or hug me any more, but I know she is in there, missing me, her forgetfulness gives it away,
and I look at her differently lately. She has become such a little wise lady, full of inner wisdom and
deep longing to be treated as she says, “RESPONSIBLE.”
She jumped in the car with such delight, giggling and jumping, the joy was so contagious I found myself running towards the theater, along with five zillion other young girls and the moms, maybe one or two men in a sold out theater.
She ran up the aisle, eyes wide open, shocked, her mouth open and her little hands gripping me so tightly, the 3D glasses way too big for her face made me want to die of adoration on the spot.
Then came the unexpected.
Girls in the theater began to scream like their dog and kitty had just been murdered in front of them, screaming “JUSTIN IS SO SEXY!”
Kat looked at me, back to them and around her in amazement.
“Mom, they have the fever too, just like me!”
This was unexpected. Kat? My Kat? She rolled her eyes, pulling me in to whisper that she couldn’t hear over the screeching, that these girls were just ridiculous, until the lights dimmed and low and behold, my responsible Kat let out screams I had never heard, even on roller coaster rides.
I was shocked.
I was sad.
I was proud.
I was on a journey.
We had never been here before, Kat and I, her telling me how cute and wonderful the fever was, Bieber fever, her grabbing her heart and falling over as he jumped out of the screen at us, with our 3D glasses on at least.
I saw that even in her responsibility and labeling of crayons, my little girl in her youth was not mine.
I cried through the whole thing.
I fell in love with her all over again.
She did return to her senses, telling me no child should be not allowed to sing with a sick throat, and my favorite line was,
“Mom, I might have to sleep in tomorrow after this,” clearly exhausted from the Bieber experience,
a ride I could not help but ride with her, seeing as Kat has much better understanding of what makes a man amazing.
Clearly because she loves her Daddy, who she whispered, would NOT like the way Justin threw his shirt off, but that she in fact did.
She told me this was not for Lola either, much too immature to understand the way the Bieber flings his hair,
and I think without saying it directly to me, she said everything I never hear anymore.
I was her mom and she was letting her guard down, her eyes lit with amazement, her shyness only shown as she gripped to the seat.
She put her head in my arm when he almost did not go on to Madison Square Garden with Jaden Smith, a tragedy waiting to happen, and laid back in the seat with relief when he went on and for the closing people, he said to follow your dreams, her head nodding, an inspiration on her face I can’t wipe off my mind or soul.
Then, the only time I have ever seen Kat ripped with emotion in public was at the very end, when he began the encore of “Baby, Baby, Baby” and she along with a million other girls screamed like the coming of Christ, a fact I usually would just vomit over, this ridiculous worship of a child.
But not tonight.
Girls jumped out of their seats four rows down, singing and swaying, screaming and dancing, mostly teens, her little body almost jumped up, and then down, her self consciousness present.
She looked behind her, saw a few girls dancing, a longing in her eyes touched a chord.
I did give birth to the girl.
And so, I jumped up, danced like Bieber had been my true love too, and I did know the words to my surprise, and it was the moment I put in my heart, the moments that make my life anything worthwhile.
I saw pride and love and she threw her body on my own, gripping my waist as we screamed and danced,
the fever of being alive and inspired lit us both up, and I felt like the most amazing girl in the world.
My Kat, not anyone else, was becoming her own, and she needed my permission, even more, she wanted me to show her how.
Kat, the baby who hides birthday money in a safe, let it all go, danced like no one was even watching, which she never even speaks without the fear of being watched, and so, tonight Justin Bieber, a man cub, is no longer a ridiculous pop star. I have in fact changed my mind.
I am no longer a ridiculing mother in offense to preteen nonsense.
I am Kat’s mom, and yes, maybe there is a support group but I have indeed caught “The Bieber Fever.”
I hope her Daddy survives.
I knew she was back to balance when she announced how terrible those girls were, the ones yelling from the back row at Miley Cyrus, yelling “BOO,” and “UGLY,” her horror that jealousy of a boy could be so destructive.
I sigh and smile with deep hurt and joy at this, the release of loving and letting go, my little girl gone forever, a preteen coming and fast, months and days I want to hold on to for dear life, to not let them leave, my heart begs and begs.
Until then, I will hold on to the Fever, to the day and moment and until she kicks me out of the chapel, will always dance not for him, but her, my tiny dancer, the Elton John nickname for my baby, the one who used to dance in my arms.