My daughter turns 13 this week. And while I can’t quite believe she’s a teenager already, she is taking this harder than I am. She told me this birthday is making her sad. She doesn’t want to be a teenager yet. She doesn’t want all the pressure and responsibility that comes with the teenage years. She said next year, she’d have to get a job already.
I don’t know where this is coming from. It’s certainly not coming from me. The job part is probably coming from the fact that we live in an economically challenged community, like pretty much every tourist town everywhere. The people with money are the ones who visit or have second homes or own the businesses where the majority of the community’s residents work for minimum wage (or these days, the minimum the market will bear). Most of her classmates come from homes that support tourism rather than profit from it. Those kids all need jobs as soon as they can get them.
That makes me very sad. School takes a back seat before these kids even start high school.
The rest of Nola’s anxiety, I can’t fully explain. But it’s something I’ll be working hard to get to the bottom of. She puts far too much pressure on herself sometimes.
It’s frustrating for me that as hard as I work NOT to put pressure on her, to let her enjoy her youth, we’re still here. But, of course, I’m not the only influence in her life. And these days, with as interconnected as our kids are to the world, that pressure is everywhere.
Which is probably why I find myself thinking of one of international bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s most haunting novellas, Coolhunting, which was a Locus Award finalist, and winner of the Science Fiction Age Reader’s Choice Award.
Here’s the synopsis:
Steffie makes her living as a coolhunter—someone who discovers an interesting look and makes it fashion, often overnight. She managed to escape her stifling upbringing, but her sister KD—genetically altered to remain a child—remains trapped.
Steffie left KD behind once. But when KD asks Steffie to help her run away from home, Steffie must decide whether to help or to abandon her sister for a second time.
In celebration of my daughter’s apparently bittersweet birthday, I offer this to you free for one week. Click here to download this powerful novella.
Meanwhile, I’ll be doing my best to make sure my daughter enjoys her birthday. A trip to the trampoline park is just the beginning…
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.