My youngest daughter is not far off becoming a teenager. I’ve been through teens thrice now, two girls, one boy and a myriad of other children. All my kids have been fostered and the youngest is permanent care. The eldest girl is 25, the next 13 and the youngest, nearly a teen. While they are all very different people, what strikes me the most is their similarities.
The digital age reached us when the older girls were in their teens. Until that time, I had benefited from many hours of home grown drama. Yes, the hormonal kind but also the kind staged in my living room. The living room you see, had a wall of mirrors and provided ample opportunity for my girls to view themselves while choreographing dances, plays or concerts. I was treated to them all. Often.
The glory of girls admiring themselves and the movements of their bodies reflected over and over and over. The second eldest particularly loved those mirrors and was distraught when finally I pulled down the paneled monstrosities. There were plenty of other mirrors for her to admire herself in but she mourned the lost of the big mirror.
Now we have selfies. Those photos taken of yourself by yourself, shared with yourself (and the world) on whatever social media platform you indulge in. The older two girls have grown out of the selfies, oh well maybe not entirely, but gone are the days when I found surprise photos on my phone and camera. Particularly when daughters are posed in my own bed (and I had to get out of it and go to work) or on my comfy chair.
I knew we had moved passed older forms of photography when my youngest, then three, ran to me after I snapped a photo on my ‘old fashioned film’ camera and demanded to see the picture. She could not comprehend what I had done with it. This child has far surpassed the older two in her ability to create selfies.
At any moment she will demand a photo taken, to see it straight away and then want to know when I will print it out and display it. Yes, we do still print out the photos and they must be displayed. How they still all love seeing themselves in a photograph, pouring over images of their younger selves and remembering how much I (must have) adored them.
The youngest however, has more equipment and opportunity to indulge her selfie moments. I have sat through a variety of productions but this afternoon I had to watch the ‘movies’ she had made on her ipod. She had been entertaining herself making movies of her ineptly funny magic tricks; presenting the news of tables, chairs and plastic bags; and pretending to be a spy while sitting next to me in the car.
The big difference these days is I am so tempted to share, via my own social media platforms, these very funny moments of a child so enamoured of her own image and comedic talent. I want to share them because they are funny and this child knows that she is beautiful and is so very sure that I would want to sit through twenty minute videos of her magic tricks where the plastic bag disappears when she tosses it out of shot.
I would have shared the other girls’ antics as well. The princess stories and the Rolf Harris heroes (I kid you not) and the dance performances that were obviously impromptu. I actually enjoyed all of it, even though there may well have been times where I may have had other things needing doing.There were other times that I laughed as loudly as I did today.
I am filled with intense pleasure that my child likes herself, that she enjoys her own humour, that she can entertain herself for hours with herself and that she is so confident in my love and adoration that she just assumes I want to watch them all.
Aren’t I lucky?