Thursday, February 2, 2012

14 is (mostly) Not Fun

Right now, it isn't hard to write because life is wonderful. Right now, it's hard to write because I have a 14-year-old daughter.

She's moody, she's wonderful, she wants me close, she wants me far far away, she shares with me stuff I couldn't care less about, and I wonder what she's not sharing with me. She wants to talk, but she doesn't want to listen. She thanks me, but doesn't want what I've offered. She's funny and fun...until she isn't.

And when I'm not living in the moment with her, I'm thinking about every moment we've had. Was I too nice or too strict? Have I been riding her too hard or not hard enough? I hear myself say things over and over, but I don't think she's heard a word I've said.

I don't expect perfection, but the lack of progress scares me. But am I being too impatient? Will it get through the 500th time or will it never get through?

I know she'll learn best from her mistakes, but I don't want her mistakes to be insurmountable, and I can't find the line. I try to give her some space, but not too much. I try to allow her some independence, but remain close by. And I have to jump in sometimes. I just have to.

Because I'm the parent. Because she's my child. Because she's not a grown up yet, and her brain won't be fully-developed for another 11 years.

But then, of course, I question myself. Did I jump in too soon? Would she have figured it out on her own had I given her the opportunity? Did I undermine her ability to grow, or did I do the right thing? And there's simply not enough distance from each instance to gain any perspective.

How did my mother survive this? How does anybody?

I guess I'll know in 5, 10, 20 years.


BigLittleWolf said...

We just muddle through - one day at a time, April.

Sometimes, one hour at a time.

Those teenage moods, especially around 13, 14, 15? No doubt part of the reason for the ever-burgeoning pharma industries. For the parents.

Tara R. said...

This is it right here: "... she is, until she isn't..."

Teen girls are confusing creatures. The good news is that they will outgrow their teens.

Laura said...

The good news, besides the growing up thing, is that outside of the house she is probably a lovely young woman. Listen to what other people say about her and you'll know that you're doing just fine--because she's doing just fine.

I can't tell you how many parents say their kids are awful at home, but in school they are onderful people.