I find walking my dog as one great way to blow off steam (and I have had a lot of steam to blow off the last few weeks!!) I’ve tried doing deep breathing but that doesn’t really help me as much as it should. Listening to music and singing out loud works well too. As lousy as I may sound, it makes me feel happier. I don’t want to spread my anger and bad mood around…..I try the best that I can but I’m certainly not perfect. My teenage daughter blames “my bad mood” on everything. Life will have to teach her how to claim and work through her own bad moods, I’ve tried my best but failed. Time and life’s lessons will teach her, of that, I have no doubt.
I’m a mom, a fifty-four year old, plump (not so pleasantly), kind, giving person but I laugh too loud. Sometimes because I have only fifty percent hearing in my left ear, I also don’t always hear things perfectly. I wear old mom jeans, sneakers instead of gold strappy sandals, or even unlaced Keds, because my feet hurt and ache constantly. I have plantar fasciatis and just walking in any shoes is uncomfortable. I have Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroididtis and numerous other ailments. I’m old.
I don’t wear flirty skirts because (see above) it would just look plain silly. I can’t wear tight shirts (well, I could) but the stomach bulges would hang over my jeans. I used to have pierced ears but I think they closed so I don’t wear much jewelry anymore. Most importantly, I don’t wear make up from Sephora or MAC or Bobbi Brown. When I wear lipstick, which I do almost every day, I consider that enough. Should I be ashamed of these things, proud or just accept them? I’m okay with it but I have an almost seventeen year old daughter who most probably wishes, I was a cooler mom. A much cooler mom.
It’s not as if I stay in the kitchen and make home-made oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies because I don’t. I spend money at the supermarket and look at every single product, especially new ones.I bake brownies from a box (Ghiradelli) and the only thing I bake from scratch is an amazingly moist banana-raisin -chip loaf. My son adores it and appreciates it, my daughter won’t even try it because she hates any type of raisin and anything resembling a mushy banana. The only banana flavor she eats is mixed with strawberry in a pink container that has artificial flavorings called yogurt. Sometimes, if my husband makes a smoothie (with ice and ice cream) she will drink it; when I make a smoothie it isn’t cold enough.
More importantly I wear my emotions like I would a soft new white scarf. Actually, you can see how I feel miles away. The worst offense, I’m mushy. My daughter is not. She keeps her feelings inside of her so even when I attempt to tone down my mushiness and delicately try to give her a compliment, she turns inwards. I wear my heart on my sleeve, you can see my emotions a mile or two away, my daughter keeps her feelings way deep inside her. I’m trying to connect with that but I’m not having much success. I know she loves me, I do know that and of course, I love her more than anything (read this kids: I love you both equally.)
When my daughter was very young, I was her world. She needed a lot of comforting and she could find that only in my arms, her tear-streaked face blanketing my neck like a worn-out washcloth. Now, she’s an amazing young woman, sure of herself, has a lot of friends, talks to me about them but her feelings are buried down deep. She is like my husband before my constant influence on him for the last 24 years. I want my daughter to know how much I love her, how proud I am of her, how I know she is incredibly intelligent and kind but I’m not sure I’m getting through. Yesterday, we spent the day together and I delicately told her how happy I was to spend time with her each week. I got this as a response: “ok.”
I feel frustrated but I guess my job as a mom is to make sure she knows I love her and that I will always be here to listen if she wants to talk. If I turn down my emotions any more I will be mute. The only thing I can do is wait and see what happens and accept her for who she is. I am happy that she talks to me about her friends, I am thrilled she is affectionate with her friends; I hope they can reach inside her wall and feel her beauty, her heart and her strength. I hope someday I will have the same privilege too.
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.
Last night I committed a sin, a major sin, according to my 15 and a half-year old daughter. She didn’t tell me in words; she didn’t have to. I was in the bedroom listening to music that I like, feeling happy and I started to dance. Alone. It was just one of those moments when I felt energetic enough to do some minor dancing by myself, Ellen Degeneres style. Having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an auto-immune disease, and Fibromyalgia, I don’t feel this way all too often. Methotrexate, one of the drugs I am taking twice a week is also a total kill joy. That night, however, I was given a break and I celebrated. I felt good!
On the way out of my daughter’s room she passed me, stopped, and gave me the dirtiest look I have received to date, complete with the eye roll upwards and “the look.” You know which look I mean, moms and dads, the look of hate and utter disgust. Why? I guess because I am a “mom” and I embarrassed her. To quote my daughter:” it was weird.” Why? It’s NOT as if all my daughter’s friends were over or that we were in public. I was in my soft, pretty white nightgown that had petite fir- green flowers printed on it (probably the first major mistake) and happily swaying to the music from The Black Eyed Peas. I wasn’t EVEN listening to John Denver or Josh Groban, this was a bona fide group that she likes.
Yet this afternoon when my daughter was asked to go to a movie this evening with her friend, she trudged into my room asking me to give her a few reasons (hint, hint, I don’t want to go) why I wouldn’t “allow” her to go. I suggested a few things which did not suit her, and then she suddenly looks happier and says “I know! I’ll tell her you’re really annoying and that you are freaking out about all the snow we are getting.” Mission accomplished, glad I could be of help, dear. “You’re welcome” I shouted and she glanced back at me all golden blonde hair swinging down her back, brilliant blue eyes and Forever 21 outfit and replies somewhat sheepishly: “thanks.” No problem.
I know, I know, hormones mixed with the emotional turmoil of having an embarrassing mom (didn’t we all have one of those?”) combined with the separation process. I get it. I understand it on a rational and psychological level. It doesn’t mean I have to like it but I accept it (face it, what choice do I have?).
The next time my illness or the dreaded Methotrexate medicine gives me a reprieve, I will continue to dance to the music that makes me happy. And when I do, I will wear my 1970’s faded neon orange T-shirt that my husband gave me and my flannel pink and rose flowered pajama pants. My door will be wide open and my voice will be loud and clear and strong.