I don’t care what anyone says, raising a teenager is hard work! Some days I am so exhausted I can’t wait to go to bed and end my day! Right now, however, I am sitting here thinking about a moment that I shared with my 17 year old daughter … a moment that I will hold on to like a life raft in the stormy sea of teenage hormones and emotions I am nearly drowning in. During this fleeting moment, I could actually see a quick glimpse of the girl I have grown to miss.
The majority of the time when we are together, my daughter makes sure that I know that I am an ever-present obstacle that she must overcome. Sometimes I even look forward to her silent treatment because it can be preferable to her words. When she was young she had tantrums and would proclaim that I was the meanest Mommy EVER, run to her room and shut the door in an effort to keep me out. Then in the blink of an eye, she would be climbing into my lap, hugging me hard, and telling me that I was the best Mommy. Now when she closes her door, she is content to leave it closed.
According to her, I ask too much and expect too much from her. I want to know who she will be with and if a parent will be there. I want a contact number in addition to her cell phone. I check her Facebook and Twitter pages. She hates that I know too much and hates me for wanting to know it because, “Nobody else’s parents do this stuff!! Nobody else’s parents are so nosey!!” She is my oldest child, so I am new to being thought of as a bad guy. I had to adjust to no longer being necessary or wanted.
A few weeks ago I was telling my daughter a story. I was just making small talk and was not expecting any response, so my daughter caught me off guard by laughing out loud. I realized then how long it had been since I had heard her laugh, how starved I was to hear that sound instead of her acting like I am a burden that she must carry.
I felt a glimmer of hope. I saw a teeny tiny chink in the carefully crafted armor she usually wears when she is in my presence. She laughed at my story and continued to answer my questions with no prodding. I knew that I was walking on eggshells, so when she quit talking I did not want to force it. I let us ease into a companionable silence. Out of the blue, she started talking again. She asked me about college and if I thought she should cheer. I loved that she was talking. She gave me a gift … she unknowingly threw me a lifeline.
I miss my daughter. I wish I could hurry this growing up process along so that I can have her back, but I can’t. I have to accept that there will be many stormy times ahead for the two of us, but this moment a few weeks ago gave me hope. I am not kidding myself by thinking that we will ever return to the place where she thought I was the all-knowing Mom who could fix every hurt and save her from every fall, but this time together revealed a glimpse of the woman my daughter would become, reassured me that I would still have a role in her life, and that regardless of how hard she tries to pretend otherwise, she still likes me.