Any mother of a teenager can tell you all the things about their teen that drive them crazy. Mothers of teenage girls tend to have the biggest struggle. My oldest daughter recently turned 15. If you count the past two years I can't string together five consecutive days that we haven't argued about something.
There are definitely days I've broken down at night and admitted I just can't do this anymore. If I had to see one more eye roll, I was going to lose it. When she was a baby, she had colic for one solid year. I thought that was the time when I needed the patience of a saint. 10 hours of crying a day is nothing compared to raising a teenage girl.
So I could write forever about the angst of raising a teen. But that would be too easy. It's so difficult to compliment the good things when you're constantly reminded of their bad decisions. Today, I'm overlooking the ever-present, "OMG, MOM". I'm letting my daughter know the things I think about when she's peacefully sleeping.
- I realize that everyone else has fantastic moms that they're so close to and are amazing friends. And all those other moms are so cool. I need you to know that I'm not here to be your friend. I'm here to guide you through this difficult period in a way that produces the least amount of scars. When you get older, and maybe not until you have kids of your own, you'll realize how very cool I am.
- You've given me my biggest challenges, yet some of my greatest joys. I should remind you more often of how much pride I get out of you.
- For as much confidence as you have, I am in awe of your humility. You've accomplished some amazing feats. I have never once heard you brag, or even tell anyone about the things you've earned.
- You have such quirky, awkward mannerisms and a walk that makes me smile every time I see you in a crowd. It's perfected like only a 2nd grade dance school dropout could. I just love it.
- I still check on you every night. Even after the big fights
- I admire that no matter what you try, you know you're going to accomplish it flawlessly. Even if it didn't go perfectly, you act as though that's the result you thought you'd get. When I heard you sing the National Anthem at your high school swim meet, I can't exactly say it was brilliant, but you bounded around the corner saying, " I thought that went great, didn't you?" You can't teach that type of optimism.
- When we were at Taste of Chicago, I noticed you hoarding the free samples. You even took a few ketchup packets. I didn't really think too much about it, but as we walked the busy streets later, I was getting irritated because every time I turned around, you were dragging behind the group. I then realized that every time you saw a homeless person, you gently placed a few of your samples by their side. You didn't do it to get recognition, you did it because you have a heart of gold.
- You have such a funny interpretation of the English language. You mix up letters in the words and provide us with such humor. It's incredibly refreshing to find a teen that can laugh at herself.
- When Homecoming rolled around this year, instead of turning boys down in order to wait for the one that you really wanted to go with, you accepted the first offer because you said, "It's really hard to go up to a girl and ask her out. The boy that asked me first is really nice and even if I don't like him like "that", how can I say no to someone who puts their heart out there?" The way you think is admirable.
- I love that you wake up every morning for swim practice at 5 am, and even though it's not your finest hour, I never have to be the one to wake you, and you never complain about going - your work ethic, is phenomenal.
- Every time you're invited to a party, I see you cringe at the fact that your dad insists on either walking you in, or if he feels uneasy about the situation, he stays. You protest and plead "NO - I'm fine, please go!", but I see you turn with a slight grin. I think you secretly like knowing how much we care about you - even though you'd really like to be dropped at the curb like everyone else...
- I love the fact that because you live and play so hard all day, and put so much of yourself out there, that you're exhausted and in bed asleep by 9:00.
You're an amazing person. I can't help but look at you and see the 5-year-old girl that I want to protect so deeply. It's hard to accept that you're growing up. I miss seeing you stand on your daddy's shoes while looking up at him and dancing in the living room.
I'm not proud to admit we've had the occasional fight ending with both of us saying, "Just three more years, just three more years..." However in reality, I dread the day you leave our house. The thought of it makes my eyes well up with tears instantly. I know someday that time will come, but I'm hoping you leave with the warm thoughts of home and knowing that you will ALWAYS have a safe place to land with us.
Forever. Unconditionally. I love you baby.
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