I am so excited when my teenager actually talks to me, especially when it’s about things that are going on in her life.
I am especially excited when she asks my advice, which is rare these days. I simply stop what I am doing and hold my tongue. I dare not interrupt or comment because I might say something wrong. Somewhere between ages 12 and 13, I became supremely uncool to her.
I try to remember back to those days when I was a teenager and my mother did everything wrong. Sometimes, I cringe when I recall how I treated her and what I used to say to her. Especially now that she’s gone, I wish I could take it all back.
But I know that she would tell me that it’s OK. That it comes with the territory of being a mother. It’s just part of raising girls. They love you, they hate you, and then hopefully, if you’re lucky, they will love you again…
“You just don’t understand,” was my mantra to my mother, and now, my daughter has adopted the a variation of the same phrase: “Mom, you don’t know anything.”
And then there are the moments when I am embarrassing her. The things that embarrass her the most include speaking to her friends and singing along with the radio in the car.
For some reason, my daughter can’t believe that I was once her age and went through everything she did — boy issues, girlfriend issues, self-esteem issues. And somehow, I survived.
I suspect that even though I didn’t always think my own mother was cool, secretly, I knew that she had my back. She sat quietly in the wings with her unconditional love and support and waited for me to come back to her. And I did. Eventually, our relationship grew into a loving adult friendship that I will always appreciate and cherish.
So, for now, I walk on eggshells, listening and responding gently without judgment, singing beneath my breath to the radio, and looking forward to the day when my beautiful daughter begins to call me “friend.”
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.