This past week I learned things about my daughter, her ability to lie to me to avoid being told no, and her capacity for stupid teenage behavior that I’d rather not know. But alas I know and I found out because I have good friends and neighbors, a bad liar of a daughter, and a growing realization that thinking my daughter is immune from stupid teenage behavior is naïve.
My daughter is sweet, responsible and kind but she is a teenager nonetheless and prone to peer pressure and friendships that transcend the “un-coolness” of our little family.
Now, because I never write about my daughters without telling them first, I have been instructed to inform my readers that the “stupid” act had nothing to do with drugs, drinking or driving but rather a decision to walk 3 miles in a blizzard(without telling her parents) to her friend’s house only to get stuck there the next day artfully dodging snow shoveling responsibilities at home. She is just now reminding me that she did help her friend shovel and upon finally getting home had to shovel her father’s entire front and side walks.
What is so surprising about all of this is how surprised I was. After all, I’m not that old that I don’t remember the far more stupid shit I did at her age and I turned out okay?
And in my head……”But I’m a good mom! Good mom daughters don’t do stupid things or lie to their good moms!” or “But I am divorced and kids from divorced families are more troubled, right?” or “Maybe if I hadn’t been travelling she wouldn’t have done that stupid thing” or “holy crap what other stupid stuff is she doing when I’m away?”
But according to my friend Jen, who kindly texted me in the throes of my duress – “You’ve done and do everything right w her” and “Silly u. It has nothing to do w divorce. She’d find a way to be stupid no matter what. That’s the point of being 16”. Thanks Jen.
This is yet another eye opening chapter in my Mom life – one that leaves me frightened by my own naivety but gentle with my daughter who is growing more quickly then I’d like into a young woman – a growth that will include many mistakes, countless missteps, and tons of tears but I hope a lot of love, joy and happiness along the way. And while I have my own insecurities, in the words of my younger daughter I must remember – “it ain’t all about you mom”.
So next week as my daughter goes to France with her high school class I will use the time – when not worrying about her or missing her – to remember that we are both human and that being a good mom is not a formula but rather a very un-rhythmic even jaunty dance of love, discipline, fighting, communication, guidance, anger, separation and togetherness that has and will bind us together forever.