On Being Eleven

I am raising a daughter. She’s eleven, and smart and funny and beautiful. Unless I trip up, I always put the word “beautiful” last if I’m describing her.

I want her to feel good about herself for what’s inside, but right now, being eleven, she is entirely focused on everything that is external.



Changing body.

Who likes her, who doesn’t.

Middle school.

To swim or not to play piano or not.

Soccer maybe?

For sure cheerleading.

I see her trying to figure it out and remember when I was 11, mostly, and trying to figure all of “it” out as well. In fact, that is about when I have clear cut memories, the others from all of my previous years are few and far between. I don’t remember being obsessed with the external, but I am sure I probably was to some extent.

I want her to bypass all of the angst of being a preteen and teen, especially the part where she’s unsure of herself. Then I remember that angst is part of growing up too, it’s part of the thing that reminds us to figure something out, if we’re listening carefully enough to ourselves. 

“You! Hey, you! This angst isn’t working for you, figure out that you’re an amazing person and move on!” I hope the voice in all of us says.

We’re all smart, funny, and beautiful. We have to find our own way to knowing it I suppose, using what we have inside of us.

That still won’t stop me from snuggling up with her as long as I can, and being lucky enough to whisper to her how amazing she is while she’s falling asleep, hoping some of it seeps in her brain.

About Julia Roberts

Laughing at raising your two kids with special needs is frowned upon in certain circles, you know? Like Grandma and Grandpa find it especially annoying. Blogging since 2005 at Kidneys and Eyes and co-founder of a social networking site, Support for Special Needs, she stays pretty busy working in her business with her husband (yeah, they're crazy) and insurance receipts. A night owl, Diet Coke lover, and vintage photo collector she hopes to raise advocates and activists.


  1. Lovely post. It is so hard. We want to protect our kids but the reality is sometimes we have to let them skin their knees. Now if could just get rid of my own angst :-)

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  2. Ridx says:

    awwww. this is so cute. :’)

  3. MamaKaren says:

    My son says that middle school is ruining his life. I told him that middle school tries to ruin everyone’s life, but that we have to have enough life in us not to let being a tween do its damage. I’m still trying to undo the damage it did to me, and I want him (and his big sister, and his little brother, and every kid I know) to survive it better than I did.

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