Big Star – Thirteen

Tomorrow my daughter turns thirteen. Thirteen! An actual teenager. My mother has long maintained that thirteen is the pits of life. She raised six of us so I think she speaks from a position of authority.

I know what it is. You’re no longer a child, not even a kid, but you’re still too young to do things the older teenagers do. There’s a whole world out there that’s just starting to be revealed to you, and it’s exciting and intimidating at the same time. You want in, but it’s a little scary.

I can’t say that I enjoyed thirteen much myself. I remember on my thirteenth birthday, my older sister and her best friend decided something ought to be done to welcome me to teenager-hood so they took me out to the street corner and pelted me with water balloons. That sort of sums up thirteen to me. Sure, I was hanging with the older teenagers, but I was most definitely not one of them. More like the butt of their jokes.

I wish I could spare my daughter the pain, the fear, the uncertainty, the second-guessing, but that would come at the expense of her experiencing the joy, the exhilaration, the burgeoning confidence of figuring out who you are and what your place is in this new world.

In my book, there is no better manifestation of this than Big Star’s Thirteen. It’s all there: the hope, the beginning of independence, a crush, a little bravado, a sweetness, a smile, and for me, always, a few tears.

Who knows what this year will bring. I have a feeling that at least I will be listening to this song on a pretty regular rotation, maybe I’ll even be able to turn her on to it too.