Stopping the Teenage Clock
April 20, 2023
by Dr. Plastic Picker
I’m headed out to speak at UCSD School of Medicine PRIME HEq Health Equity Cluster this afternoon. My good friend from medical school, Dr. Luis Castellanos, is the director and we are working on the San Diego Heat and Human Health (H3 SD) Summit together. Indeed this year marks our 20th Harvard Medical School reunion and both of us are not going. We are busy this summer, trying to help our region deal with catastrophic heat waves.
But that power point presentation is almost done. [pause] Wow, it’s already done now. As I do more climate work (has it been four years now?), I find blogging is more of a place to reflect on my parenting. In the end, we all have our why for why we do things. And my why, has always been my children and yours.
I am so incredibly grateful to the earth for literally slowing time down. Especially about a year ago when I stepped away from middle management to focus on climate advocacy, something magical happened. Time literally slowed down. I became a Marvel-like hero, but the opposite of Flash – I began to slow down my internal clock. It may be eating all those real vegetables. We chomp on real carrots that I peel and slice. We dip them in ranch or hummus. It might be that my daughter and I are making much of our own breads. When we have breads, it’s usually my own pizza dough recipe or her homemade baguettes.
Like allowing the yeast to slowly ferment and things to rise, I’m slowing time down for her. We had a beautiful glimpse into what the future may hold during our family’s pseudo kdrama. But there is no rush. And for me having this idea, has allowed me to tell her to slow down. Let’s enjoy the journey. Her club meetings, changing activities, speech trophy, waiting for a reply from the New York Times regarding her op-ed, and simply wanting to get on social media. We’ve slowed time all the way down, and we have make-believe conversations with her stuffed Penguino. We talk about make-believe boys that may or may not do the same activities. We talk about friends at school, and she pouts and I look contrite. Every night she is yearning to grow up, and I pull her back and stop the teenage clock.
She’s almost 15, and that in-between age between childhood and the world of grown-ups? We are still there. It’s a beautiful space, the expectations but the innocence. Knowing there are challenges and excitement, but that it’s not quite time. She’ll get a further glimpse into what it means to grow up when we go this weekend with her brother to see UC Berkeley, but she said I’m the little sister. Yes you are the little sister, and the little girl and not quite 15. We will keep you this way for a few more years.