My mom was a wonderful beginner, but her follow through was not always so great. I grew up with the theory that if mom did something one way I would do it the opposite way and thus insure my success. Because of this I have been more of a “hanger-on” of things, refusing to let go even when it is obvious to everyone else that the time for it to be over is long past. Neither extreme has shown to be as successful as we would have liked. Still, everyone has a tipping point and recently, I came awfully close to mine.
The last thing I was tempted to leave, much to my shock and awe, was motherhood.
If you are not a woman, or have never been the mother of a teen daughter, you may not understand this feeling. If you are a woman who has parented teen girls, you likely will. I wanted to run, screaming from the room just the other day, and leave my whole life behind just to get away from the eye rolling, tongue wagging, deep sighing thing that my daughter has become. The change didn’t happen overnight. This has been a three year long transmutation, beginning when she turned 12. The stress of this time in our lives was wearing thin the other day and I was close to waving the white flag of surrender, filling my mini-van with chocolate and heading for parts unknown leaving no forwarding address.
Why did I stop? I have asked myself that very question on a couple of occasions since. I suppose the appropriate answer is that I love my daughter. The truth is a combination of this and the fact that I hate to give up; I like things completed, not just over. Another thing that stopped me was remembering that I had adversarial moments with both my mom and my step-mom as a teen, and I loved and respected these women immensely, even then. So maybe, just maybe, she loves and possibly respects me too, a little tiny bit. I hope.
What helps me to stay; besides the fact that I have a wonderful husband and other children is looking forward. I look forward to the day that she is able to smile at me genuinely, not through clenched teeth, and thank me for staying the course with her. I look hopefully to the day we become friends rather than adversaries. I look forward to the day she realizes that I wasn’t trying to keep her from having fun by giving her a curfew and I didn’t consider her a maid because I gave her chores. I look forward to the day that she has a teen daughter and she remembers, just like I have, that we all have “those days” sometimes and we don’t “give up”, we “complete”.