My Daughter And I

I’ll admit, my daughter and I don’t always get along. We are like best friends who disagree and argue about a lot of stuff.

Maybe it’s because of her age. Or mine. Or both. Or the fact that we are the only two females – besides our cat Cleo – in the family. Or maybe we are too much alike. Or maybe it’s hormones. Who knows? Lately though, things have been even more difficult than usual. Yes, there has been yelling, and slamming of doors, and someone may have called someone else a name or two or three.

Little miss chubby cheeks.

Little miss chubby cheeks.

Now I realize, part of the reason for this conflict is the time of year. Dance competition season always add extra stress to our household.

Also, she is on the verge of becoming a woman. She is just finishing high school. I know she has some trepidation about her future. What is she going to do? Where is she going to go? And how will she ever get along without me or her father or her brothers to help her out? (We’ll always be there for her, but you know what I mean.)

I also know that she is anxious to gain her independence. I want her to have that.

I remember when she was little – all cheeks and hair. In my eyes, she could do no wrong.

I remember her snuggled up in her sling as I walked to the park, or to the library, or to the grocery store. She slept anywhere. As a third child, she had to.

I remember her first steps across my mother’s living room carpet. She was fierce. At just nine months, she took off and never looked back. Again, as a third child with two older brothers, that was almost a requirement.

I remember her riding her big wheel – her “hog” as she called it. No boy was ever going to beat her in a race.

I remember her first dance recital, this skinny little thing – all legs – dressed in her pink tights and ballet slippers skipping across the stage. I knew then that she was made to perform.

I remember her confidence (and her attitude) as she grew. She was a leader, not a follower, though sometimes she needed to be reigned in.

The two of us, with cat.

The two of us, with cat.

And now here we are – she is all grown up, a good three inches taller than me, and as beautiful as she is smart.

Sadly, I find us at odds quite often.

Are these just emotional growing pains for the both of us? Is this just another phase? I hope so.

In my heart, I know we’ll get through it. It’s just hard sometimes.

Yesterday, after a particularly hostile encounter – as I was breathing heavily in my car and gripping tightly to the steering wheel – I thought of something. I needed a reminder. She did too. Something concrete. Something we could read.

Reminders are good. They work when your brain is in a fog.

So I made this sign. It is for those moments when we both want to rip each other’s hair out. In order to get her to see it, I’ll have to post it on her Facebook wall. It seems that’s the only way she sees anything these days. Or if I attached it to a twenty dollar bill. I think I’ll go for the Facebook option. Better yet, I’m going to tell her that I wrote about her on my blog. That will get her here for sure…

happinessis

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  1. March 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I’m a few years behind you in mothering a daughter. It is a totally different world than mothering sons, isn’t it?

    • March 5, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      It is – totally. I had a lady once tell me that the boys will just blow up when they get mad, and girls will stalk you. That’s exactly how I feel sometimes.

  2. March 5, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    This is wonderful as it makes me think of my own daughter–at this point only five, but also a confident little dancer preparing as best she can for her spring recital–but it also reminds me how short a time we have with our “little girls”.

    I went through a similar phase with my own mother when I was 18, yet now we are like best buds who never knew strife or indifference (sure we still debate certain topics and get mad at one another, but that’s rare and it’s in a much different way than it was when I lived by her rules and under her roof). Perhaps your daughter is simply coming into her own and finding out who she is–the role you’ll play in that discovery will likely be minimal at the moment, but something tells me she’ll come around sooner rather than later, and these tense-filled moments will be looked upon as just that: moments.

    Hang in there, mama! That beautiful girl will soon be an amazing woman, just like her mother, I’m sure!

    • March 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      You don’t know how good this makes me feel to hear you say this. I think you are exactly right too. At least, I hope. I think she is just looking for herself, trying to become more independent. I think we are very much moving toward needing our own spaces, and slightly separate lives.

      And I’m hangin’. Going to the gym helps tremendously. I know you more than anyone gets that. :)

  3. March 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Fern, I’m sure tons of mothers and daughters will resonate with this post. The thing is, you do both love each other–you just have to remember it as much as possible!

    • March 5, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      You are so right. And the reminders never hurt – from friends, family, otherwise. :)

  4. March 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    My daughter is only 11, so you are trailblazing for me. My best to the both of you.

    • March 6, 2013 at 12:27 am

      You can call it trailblazing. I like that. More often, it feels like I”m going down in flames. I will imprint that image of leading the people in my mind. :) Thanks for visiting!

  5. javaj240
    March 5, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I can commiserate. We seem to be in the same place with our daughters. Mostly it, well, sucks, but once in a while we have a great moment. They’re fleeting, but I try to hang on to them. I have to. They’re all I’ve got at the moment. LOL!

    • March 6, 2013 at 12:28 am

      We have each other. Thank God!

  6. March 5, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I love the little girl shot and I love the mom teen shot and I found this heart wrenching. I have confidence that you will travel to that point of coming together—a point that I never reached with my mother.

    • March 6, 2013 at 12:29 am

      I don’t give up easily, if ever, don’t worry. Neither does she. That’s part of the problem.

  7. March 6, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Beautiful! This brought tears to my eyes. Clearly, so much love, which makes the process of letting go that much harder. I have very clear memories of my mom and I at odds during those tumultuous years. When I look back now, they were merely a blink in time. Though she may not agree. We are now dear friends in addition to mother and daughter. And the sign is wonderful! I may have to borrow that one.

    • March 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      You do tend to forget. I know I wasn’t the easiest teenager in the world to deal with either, but like you say, it seems like those days were just a blink in time. It is good knowing I am not alone when I hear other people’s stories.

      • March 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        I kept thinking about this after I replied. I see the same thing with the husband and the boys. He holds on tight, tight, tight. And they are working so hard for their independence. So many fights and loud words, short tempers, and long cold stares. I have to keep assuring him it was the same with he and his dad, he just doesn’t remember it. I, for some reason, find that I don’t hold the boys so tight. It also takes much more to fire my temper than it does hubby’s. Maybe it’s from growing up with all brothers, I don’t know. It is so thrilling to watch as they make their way. And I see it as a natural thing for them to spend much less time at home with us. Not that it doesn’t tug at my heart, because it does. Until it bleeds sometimes. Ok, I’ll stop my rambling now. lol

      • March 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        I totally agree with everything you just said. I feel different with the boys. I worry but not nearly as much. I expect more of her too. I know as a woman she needs to be able to look after herself, to not rely on any man.

        And yeah, my husband has a much quicker temper than I do.

  8. March 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I do like to be reminded how normal this situation is! For me, this was 11 / 12 years ago and me and my mum argued so much it barely seems real now. It was pretty horrible but I think that I used to see her as invincable. She did, after all hold all the cards at the time in life where I was desperately trying to establish my own identity and ironically needed her more than ever! Who knows why we test boundaries (both ways) and why it takes some time to understand how hurful it can be. I think that we both worked so hard to hide the impact that it probably alienated us for a while, most memorably the day before I left for uni… I doubt anyone could have advised me then but I’d have sure liked the reassurance that this is – healthy? At least, it will pass and as some of the above comments your existing friendship will become that of two adults on a more even keel soon enough. All the best x

    • March 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      I keep hearing this same message – it’s not just us. In that, I am very grateful to know that things can (and hopefully will) get better. Thanks for chiming in. It means a lot. :)

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