By: Amy Gentry
When I was a teenager, my mother used to say, “I hope you have a daughter and I hope she’s just like you.” Mind you, this was not her way of wishing me a joyous accord with my own offspring. It was more like a curse she was bestowing on her moody, rebellious, emotional kid. Much to her chagrin, eleven years ago I gave birth to a beautiful, funny, clever, compassionate, and loving daughter. For the last ten years, this child has been a complete source of laughter, love, strength and pride. I had escaped the overly-dramatic and emotional, broody girl-child I’ve heard so much about.
And then, puberty hit.
Suddenly, my angel child started slamming doors, scream-sobbing in defiance, and rolling her eyes. The time she spent inside the bathroom and in front of a mirror increased by about five times. Only a month ago, we had to beg her to wash her hair… Last week, she woke up early every morning to shower, wash her hair and complete her basic primping. Thankfully, she wears a uniform to school. Otherwise, she’d be getting up at 4:00am to choose the perfect outfit.
This week, it was “parents watch” night at her dance class, and when she used to wave joyously at us and check to see if we were watching her every move, she now watches herself in the mirror and almost avoids all eye-contact with her proud parents (her posse of mom, dad, step-mom, sister) sitting in the wings.
As I watched her in her leotard and jazz pants posing and pointing her toes, I could feel my heart break a little. She was growing into a young woman. And, most importantly, she was growing away from me. All the new eye-rolling, over self-awareness and fiery emotions are exactly what lights the canon that shoots her out there into the world.
I’ve done my share of screaming back at her through the locked bathroom door. I’ve even replied back with something clever like, “I wrote the book on being a bratty kid, so you won’t beat me at this!”
(Note: Don’t challenge a pubescent girl in a “who’s the most obnoxious” contest. It’s not pretty.)
But when I can take a moment to step back, calm down and think about this life, I know that there’s really no battle. My daughter is where she needs to be right now. I’m the one who has to adjust, let go as necessary (slowly, I hope) and allow her to develop into the woman she will eventually become. I’ll have to lick my wounds on my own, knowing that this is one of those painful parts of motherhood.
Hopefully, I can guide her and push through the adolescent brooding over the next few years. That angel who was there in the beginning isn’t going away. She’s just flying on. As long as she knows where she can rest her wings, I’m doing things right.
Amy Gentry is a very average human, woman, wife and mother, starting a journey to a healthier life, while trying to figure out what she wants to be if she ever grows up. You can follow more of her adventures on Average Joe Mama.