My baby turned 12 and, like with every birthday my kids hit, I have to take a minute to wrap my head around it.
The Bean as a newborn, wearing a pale pink knit hat and sucking on a pink flowered paci.
Finding out I was pregnant with the Bean was a huge surprise. My struggles with infertility are not a secret to anyone who’s been reading my blog for any length of time – so despite my ob/gyn talking to me about birth control, the thought that I could get pregnant without assistance while nursing was so laughable I never gave it a second thought. But I vividly remember laying on the couch, feeling off and taking my pulse. I had acupuncture regularly before and during my pregnancy with Scorch and my practitioner told me how much more robust my pulse would feel while pregnant because of the increased blood flow. That night while taking my pulse, things just felt more…and I knew a test was in order.
I went to the gym that next morning and ducked out early to pick up a pregnancy test on my way home. I got home and the Hubs and Scorch were still sleeping, so I took the test before showering, never imagining it would be positive. But there it was – two distinct lines on the stick. Not going to lie- I pretty much hyperventilated, freaking out over what we were going to do. I woke the Hubs up by thrusting the test in his face, firmly inviting him to join me on the freakout train. Much to my surprise, he didn’t – he just looked at me, smiled and told me it was going to be awesome.


Fast forward 9 month later, and after being in labor most of the day and not knowing it, my water broke that night. Assuming the birth would progress like Scorch’s, we took our time leaving (read: the Hubs did his last minute freakout cleaning) and stopped for snacks on our way out of town to the hospital 45 minutes away that I was to give birth at. Everything went well until we got on the highway and then labor *hit* with  painful contractions super close together. I should have told him to take me to the local hospital, but we kept going. Long story made very short, the Bean came roaring into the world an hour after we arrived, screaming her lungs off.


As the Hubs is one of 3 boys, we only had nephews and Scorch was obviously a boy, we were all shocked to have a little girl.


A little girl with a set of lungs so big and so loud that the doctor took her to the NICU to make sure she wasn’t injured or ill. After a short period of time, the doctor brought her back to us, declared her perfectly healthy and told me that our baby girl was just really pissed off at being born. He wished us lucked and walked away, shrugging.


And that was our introduction to our Bean – making herself known to all from the minute she was born.


The Bean, aged 1 year old, wearig a grey zip up hoodie, staring up with big brown eyes and a small smile on a
Fast forward 12 years now and we have this long legged, tanned, gorgeous girl in our house. She’s quieter now- the Bean does not scream (much) anymore, but she makes herself known very clearly. She comes off as reserved – sometimes even as meek – but that’s hardly the case. This child can dig her heels in deeper than any other kid I know and knows what she wants, when she wants it. That doesn’t mean she always gets it- but it’s not for lack of trying.


The Bean is on the cusp of starting 7th grade at our local public school. After attending Catholic school since age 3, this will be an adjustment under ideal circumstances. Throw Corona in there, and who the heck knows what her introduction to public school will be like. All I know is that I have complete confidence that she’ll rock it!


The Bean is fiercely funny – she’s got this quick wit about her that takes me by surprise and makes me laugh every day. She’s smart as hell and is willing to put in the work to do well – something I deeply admire about her. Beaner keeps her crew small – it takes a long time to break her down and get in her inner circle. But once you’re in, you will be loved beyond measure. She keeps us on our toes daily because, well, she’s a tween and her moods and likes change daily if not hourly.


The Bean standing at the edge of the ocean, wearing a grey jumpsuit, at dusk. The waves are ca


Bean and Scorch’s relationship is a marvel to watch. He can get under her skin with a look, a touch or a single word. All will be quiet until he looks at her just right and she loses her mind and launches herself on him.  It’s completely maddening – she doesn’t seem to know yet that if she just ignores him, he’ll go away. But within seconds of them being locked in a death match, they will be laughing like loons together. Each of my children are a blessing- but witnessing their relationship grow and evolve is the biggest blessing of them all.


So, Beaners,  I have no idea what your 12th year will bring, but here’s what I hope for you:


1. I hope you continue to sink into your own skin. Middle school is the time to start to figure you out – what you like, what you don’t like, what you want in your friends and your romantic relationships (although, you can’t date until 9th grade – I know, I know, Word’s Worst Mom).  I want you to know that, with a few exceptions like illegal drugs or self-harm, we’ll support you in whatever direction you go. Dad and I are here to help you become the best version of you – and sometimes that may mean pushing you – but we’ll always listen too.


2. I hope you keep your friends close and let others in. After being the same class with the same 12 kids forever- your world is going to explode in 7th grade. Keep Lilly close (we love her!), but not at the expense of others – put yourself out there and befriend who ever catches your eye. Labels are only good for laundry – throw your expectations out the door and realize that getting to meet and know so many different people is a gift.


3. I hope you are kind and that people are kind to you. Tween girls aren’t known for their empathy and compassion, so I hope you buck that stereotype and extend kindness to others and yourself. Punch up, not down and remember that your ability to lead puts you in a position of power – use it wisely, be nice and reach out to others who may be struggling.


4. I hope you stretch yourself. You, Bean, like to live in the comfort zone. That’s well and good, but nothing exciting or unexpected happens there. So try a new class, try out for a team, befriend a new person, pick up a new hobby- do something that feels uncomfortable and scary. You just may love it.


5. I hope you know we’ll always love you. Girl, let’s face it- our relationship isn’t always easy. You and I are both stubborn and can plant our feet hard – that sometimes leads to tears and yelling. But no matter what, know that you’re loved wildly and without exception. We are here to support you, hold you up and be your soft spot to land when things get tough. Life isn’t easy all the time, but our love and support is constant.


Kiddo, I hope you *adore* being 12. I hope you grow and stretch and learn so much your head hurts. I hope you open your heart to new possibilities and keep your old friends safe. I hope you laugh so hard you cry, I hope you work so hard your muscles hurt and I hope you love so hard your heart cracks.


Parenting you in a joy and a blessing and watching you grow until the amazing person you’ll be is a privilege I never take for granted.



About Heather

I adore my family, writing, books, cats, lazy mornings in bed, and chocolate. I'll never say no to breakfast for dinner, long talks with friends and lazy summer days at the pool with family. My life is often crazy, always awesome and one I'm so happy to be living! My side hustle is editing and proofing work. Find out more at https://heathercaryn.com/

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