My 12-year-old is increasingly the owner of her own story, aware of having a place in the world, conscious that sharing ourselves has a power and effect in the real world. It feels strange to police myself, but also I guess cosmically right. Knowing that my children are their own beings is one thing, but feeling it is a little crazy. Isn’t it too soon?

Anyway her recent foibles have me thinking about my own embarrassing tweens. In perhaps the 5th grade I had a brief but intense crush on a girl down the street, a friend’s older sister. Another kid was over and I enlisted him to help me with a love note which included a multiple choice form: do you A) love me? B) like me? C) not sure? Clearly early on I was interested in written communication and user input. Though for all the precision of my survey it’s hard to understand why I didn’t see its absolute certainty to fail.

Of course on paper only my co-writer, the recipient Mary Anne, and anyone else she showed the paper to ever knew about this, and the chances the note survives are, I hope, tiny. Now kids have emails or texts, with their lower bar to delivery and vast multiplier effects. Let’s just say I have the sense they’re no more clever than I was at their age about the human heart. Also, there’s a great digital citizenship and safety contract from KidPower which you can adapt should you be negotiating any of these waters. When all else fails, I turn to the directions. I love KidPower because they are thorough but focused on the positive benefits of safety, not the scary stuff. (As they say, nobody would attend “Drowning Prevention” class, you focus on the goal of swimming, not the risk.)

With my other child, I can report that driving carpool for baseball camp, while I understood a high percentage of the words being used, my helpfulness to their interests this week ends with chauffeur.

What’s funny is that my kid thinks he can play any sport he’s watched 5 minutes of. I mean he probably can, but watching the As doesn’t quite make you an expert player. Last summer he broke a bone and missed the Future Stars Baseball camp. So for all his excitement I was a little worried that actual playing of the game might not go so well. But he’s still at an age where his self-assurance that he’s already a great ballplayer glides into doing just fine playing. And picking up the lingo.

In the backseat, the boys are chatty: “Babe Ruth is the most valuable baseball card there is, by far.” “Not all the players on the Lakers are good.” I know all these words and understand roughly to what they refer, but cannot offer a thought or opinion. I mean I guess I could Google baseball card prices, but really, it’s nothing I’m going to add value to. The best I could do would be, “They’re kidding with that logo, right?”

I know to praise the grand slams (they got 10, or maybe 3, my son reported). And the slides into home. Both are good! I mean I did see a few movies about this sport. But actually, a few weeks from starting the third grade, they’re perfectly happy having these conversations on their own. Driving’s the one thing they can’t do themselves, yet.

So today I’m trying to stick to what I do know. Backpacks ready! Socks, undies, clothes on! Breakfast! Please?! Sunscreen! …and then off into the world.

Just a bit more of the lazy, all-over-the-place pace and feel of summer. I’m trying to enjoy it, and appreciate those who are experts at the rest of it.