JoAnne Lehman

JoAnne Lehman
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
January 18
I'm a middle-aged writer and editor living in Madison, Wisconsin with my life partner, our adolescent goddaughter, a standard poodle, two cats, and some chickens. I'm a long-distance caregiver -- but not primary caregiver -- for my parents, who recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and who still live in their own home even though both have dementia. One of my brothers now lives with them and manages their care, which is substantial. The other three of us siblings rotate in for a week or so at a time, three or four times a year each. My parents are sweet and delightful, even as their needs increase and life with/around them becomes more stressful and challenging.


JoAnne Lehman's Links
JULY 30, 2011 9:45AM

About a Girl

Rate: 3 Flag

She is 12. She tries to be 15, except -- she is 5. She is 8. She is 10. She was born 12 years ago, but she sometimes lies on the floor crying like she is 2. She sometimes wants the freedom of a 17-year-old, but she often doesn't act as responsible as the average 11. She wants to babysit, but she can't get along with her little brother. She won't help clean up dog shit, but she wants to think the dog is hers. She can't stand to spend an hour entertaining herself alone without external stimulation or validation, but she sobs "I can take care of myself! My social life is my business!" when we ask about her friends. She's 12, she's whatever she is. The animal she most closely resembles at her worst is the weasel. At her best, a kitten.

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Thanks for your encouragement, JoAnne, and for this piece--I'm working on some writing that features a teenage girl, and this was a good reminder of how they are/we all were!
Ah, JoAnne, how well you capture the turbulent churn, the discordant energy anf thrum of the on-the-cusp adolescent--a puzzle seeking to fit its pieces together. As I recall, and judging from my personal behavior, boys can also be a spoking bundle of needs, desires, and exubernaces--though of a perhaps different nature. You are a keen observer.
Sometimes I think I'm still like that. And I'm in my 40's.

Thank you, Julie, Jerry, and Helvetica. I find myself remembering my own twelve-ness a lot these days as I witness hers.