Spring has finally arrived in Seattle, and with it a bit of reprieve from the pubescent wrath I have been suffering at the hands of the beautiful 13 year old girl. Yesterday we went for a couple of walks through the neighborhood and at one point she spontaneously put her arms around me and held on as we ambled down the street. We’re at the point where such a show of affection is acutely noticeable as something that is quickly slipping away and must be treasured when it happens. Of course, in the next instant we had to take a detour off the sidewalk as some boys from her class were approaching from the opposite direction. We cannot be seen together. I remind myself not to embarrass her, again.
My daughter is beautiful (did I mention that?), incredibly smart and has a wicked sense of humor. She is also moody, angry and prone to burst into tears over nothing, often reacting to situations more like a 5 year old than a 13 year old. I’ve read all the books – all the literature on the developing teen brain. I’ve commiserated with other parents; I know these behaviors are quite normal. She’s also been through the wringer with both of her parents’ various issues so she has even more to be angry about than the “average” child, whatever that is. Depending on my own menopausal mood, I can either observe with an amused appreciation of all that is happening in her little adolescent synapses or get sucked into a dramatic battle of the wills. As a single mother, the dance takes on an extra dimension of complexity. As she constantly reminds me, I’m her mother, not her friend or her sister. My own loneliness and confusion over my place in this world make it far too easy to lean on her for support at times.
But Spring is here and the sun is shining and today I am thankful for her charms. Often, I find myself looking at her…. really looking, seeing her almost as if for the first time, and I am amazed at this lovely creature who is my child. Awe inspiring doesn’t begin to touch on it. Miraculous would be closer to the truth of what she is.