Loving Baby Teen

I wish I could tell you what we were fighting about, teen daughter and I.  But I don’t remember.  There was a disagreement, I guess.  Or maybe just a misunderstood intention.  Whatever the cause, it took me by surprise – for the millionth time.

It’s like that these days – parenting a teen.  One minute I’m cruising through a benign day without conflict, and the next moment I’m ripped from the illusion of peace into a full-blown drama.  With increasing frequency this scenario unfolds.  Yet still I fail to divert it.  I feel as helpless in this regard as I would trying not to fall out of bed.  And the only way to prevent that is to put up a barrier.

I’ve tried that, putting up a barrier between me and Principessa .  But it feels all wrong blocking her out.  I want to be a good parent, a constructive communicator, a positive influence.  But truthfully, I don’t always know how.  And I don’t always know her.  She is changing, as she should be.  As we all do.

I try to glean wisdom from my own experience as a teen and come up short.  I recall only years of unrest followed by an extended period of regret and blame.  My intention to be different – to overcome the stereotypical strain in the parent/teen relationship – falls unanswered to the bottom of the wishing fountain like a heavy coin.

Perhaps my wish is all wrong.  It does seem delusional to hope that we will be the first mother-daughter pair in history to emerge unscathed from the formative years.  But still, I wish.

Because I made a promise so long ago when I birthed her, my first baby.  Standing over her crib, staring into an angelic face, I vowed that I would protect her and nurture her and never, ever, make her doubt my love for her.  I prayed in earnest for the wisdom and courage to be the mother of my dreams to this deserved little being.

Sometimes I think I am that mother.  Other times I feel like the mother I battled at fifteen, beaten down and weary from repeated rides on the emotional roller coaster.  If only I could keep myself on stable ground.  This is the key I need – a way to hold steady whilst the teen tornado swirls around me.

I remind myself that teenhood is tough.  Impossible at times, as I recall.  No matter how overwhelmed I am, my adult life can never compare to the confusion, excitement, and uncertainty of the teen years.  With this in mind, I loosen my grasp on utopian ideals and renew a promise made long ago to the infant version of my young lady.

I will still love you and protect you and nurture you with the fever of a new mother, but add to that the wisdom of a seasoned one. Fifteen years ago you gave me the gift of motherhood – a gift I cherish more than any other.   I renew my commitment to that gift with a strength and compassion equal to ten million mothers.

 Principessa, you are growing into the person I tried to imagine when I first met you.  And I couldn’t be more amazed.  You are perfectly you.  And I am me.  I cannot guarantee that we will not hurt each other as we grow – we are as human as always.  But I can promise that I will never love you less than I did when I first held you in my arms.

 Spread your wings, then.  Take the world (and your mother) head on, and be the strong, independent woman you are.   You will always have me, you will always be my baby, and you will always have a home in my heart.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sacha
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 13:44:08

    Well I’m sitting here sobbing. I feel your heart in your words. I’m crying for all the Moms who are feeling similar frustrations, for all the teens who don’t have Moms who understand and most of all for the teen in me who was so confused and lost. What more could we ask of ourselves then to tell the truth, explore our feelings, breath and get up and try again from a renewed sense of strength.

    What YOU get to hear Deb Dunham is – you are an exquisite writer of your truth and what you say here – matters. I admire you.

    Thank you for another kiss for my heart. x0


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