It’s been a weird time over here, my daughter is growing up at an alarming rate ( both of them) and I feel like I’m physically, falling apart over the last few months. One has nothing to do with the other. But it just gives some background to my state of mind…vulnerable.
We’ve had growth spurts and growing pains and I’ve just waiting for my girls to hit that age where suddenly I am their least favorite person in the world and I’ve been dreading it because honestly, aside from the Big Guy, these two are my favorite people in the world. Have been since the moment they were born. Sure, I have moments when I don’t really like their behavior and I’m not particularly fond of the eye rolling and sarcastic tones that have been making an appearance at my house lately, but God, I adore these girls.
Lately between the bickering between the two of them and the moments of wondering if boarding school might be a better option for my sanity, I’ve been at the end of my parenting rope. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and outnumbered and, worse, disrespected. It’s been hard trying to get my bearings in this new stage of parenthood. I’ve been solidly knocked off my axis. But suddenly, there’s been a shift.
Through it all, I’ve been sticking to my guns and no matter what transpires, my girls always know they are loved; no matter how unlovable they are behaving that day. My oldest, who is only 11, has been exerting her independence for the past couple of years trying to separate from me. I feel it. It’s natural but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt. It does, like a son of a bitch and this is coming from a broad who has had unmedicated transition labor, a severely broken and shattered leg and relentless gallbladder attacks. My girls pulling away hurts more than any of that ever did. I was sure this was the beginning of the end.
I’m not so old that I don’t remember that phase in my life when I tried to separate from my mom; the teen years. I was awful and I didn’t even understand what it was about my mom that was so annoying. I just knew that every word she tried to tell me, annoyed me. I know now that it wasn’t her at all, it was me. I was growing up, and asserting my independence was just part of that. Being a complete asshole to my mom, that was just me taking it to the next level. Sorry, mom!
Anyways, my Bella, she’s been giving me the “ you don’t know anything” look. I know it well. I gave it. I could feel her pulling away. One day, she would barely speak to me then suddenly, the next she was trying to match me in outfits. I was so confused. Did she hate me or did she think I was “cool”? Was she messing with me? Adolescence is so confusing and puberty makes it all 1000x worse.
I’ve been holding my ground. No matter how awful she is to me, every night I go into her room and kiss her goodnight and tell her that I love her. Every morning when I drop her off at school, I kiss her goodbye and tell her (and her sister) that I love them. I’m relentless with this because I never want them to doubt that or themselves.
Over the last couple of months, I noticed that my daughter has been making a return to me. I know she’s only 11 and there is so much more of this pulling away to come but for now, she has become my biggest advocate. When her little sister starts to argue with me or talk back, my oldest has been intervening. I told her to stop because I don’t want it to cause a rift between her and her sister but I appreciate it. It was nice that she took the initiative to have my back. I appreciate that she cared enough to step in.
She’s been pointing out the similarities in our physical traits and wanting to emulate me. There’s been a shift from “leave me alone” to “can I spend some time with you, mommy” and I’m not ashamed to say that I love it. She loves me and she’s not afraid to show me. She’s stopped resisting the fact that I’ll never stop loving her.
I really think it has a lot to do with me being consistent. She knows my unconditional love means giving her what she needs of me, and that might not always be what she wants from me but she knows that she always has me on her side.
Anyways, with months upon months of crazy stuff going on lately (like seriously, I must have pissed someone off who gave me the evil eye or I accidentally came into possession of some tiki a la The Brady Bunch). All I know is that among broken legs, attacking gallbladder and too many other craptastic things to mention, it is awesome to feel the love from my daughters.
What’s the one time you really needed some love/kind word/smile/something good to happen and it did? Isn’t it amazing how it can change everything?