The almost 16-year-old young lady lies beside me as we watch her favorite show, Glee. I watch that with her to bond, to share something with her, to enjoy something together. I try to make a casual reference to a theme in the show that I feel is important and she totally shuts me off. “I don’t want to hear about it” she says harshly, hand raised in the “stop” position. Sometimes I don’t know who she is or how she works. Granted, she is the opposite of me in terms of personality, she is more like my husband. She keeps things deep inside her where I wear my heart on a sleeve. If there is something upsetting me it shows on my face, 5 miles away but she wouldn’t notice that or can’t pick up the social cues. I don’t know if it’s her style or her personality or just how her brain works. My son, on the other hand, just has to look at me from afar and ask “what’s wrong?” But he and I are much more similar in nature so that really is no surprise. We have the ability to think the same thing at the same second, to understand each other with a simple glance, to read each others mind. I love and like my children equally, believe me, but some things are easier when you can identify more with a person’s style.
I find my daughter to be embarrassed by me, by the way I say” Hi “to her friends,( I know, better to stay silent and move away) to the way I dress, eat, and even dance alone in my room. I feel I can do nothing right with her most of the times, (and I am sure, she feels the exact same thing about me) with the exception of driving her to the mall when she wants to go, or paying for a short skirt or a bikini. Then, she is all smiles, warmth, happiness with free-flowing, easy gratitude. It’s when I say “no” that brings out the tone of voice I find less than respectful and the teenage girl “attitude.” Mothers, I’m sure you know what I mean: tone, eye roll, silence, shoulder shrug, etc.
I feel like I’m being used; I know I am being used. I know it’s supposed to be natural for mothers and daughters to have these ongoing battles but how long are they going to last? I want my daughter back, please return her to me, I promise to be patient. I’ve had differences with my own mother from time to time but they were emotional in nature and usually when I felt hurt. With my daughter, she acts like a part of the family, but sometimes in it for herself. She will smile sweetly and talk softly when she wants me to take her to the nail salon or to buy her a frozen vanilla latte from Starbucks. But, when the “boys” were out-of-town and I offered to take her out to eat at her favorite restaurant, it was a distinct “No Thanks!” because she would be embarrassed to be seen with me on a Friday night, alone. Sigh, there is a part of me that totally understands this, I probably went through similar things myself, maybe I hid it more. But, as a parent, it still stings, no doubt about it.
Maybe it’s the entitlement issue, the me, me, me, all me generation as my husband and I call it. We don’t differ our parental styles to our son and our daughter but their attitudes are totally different. I DO NOT favor one child over another but yes, I do understand my son better than my daughter. She will not let me in, I try not to take it personally, but it’s hard to do. My daughter, at this age, basically lets her best friends in, they are her life and it’s perfectly age appropriate; family is just making cheese sauce for her pasta or driving her to the mall so she can be with her aforementioned best friends.
I feel hurt and angry and very, very tired. If only once in a while I would get a genuine sign of affection or gratitude or heaven please help me, both, it would make me feel happy, no ecstatic. My goal is this: tomorrow I will go to the library and get the book I reserved aptly called ” Get Out of My Life but first can you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?” Maybe I will get some answers, at the very least, I think I will be getting support and explanations. That alone, is a very good, first, small step.