I feel a pang in my stomach every time I hear the lilt in their voices or the sassy words come out of their mouths.
"You don't understand anything."
"You're not cool."
And the ever-popular: "You're ruining my life."
The list goes on...
Did I talk to my mother that way when I was growing up? If I did, and I'm sure I did to some extent, I don't remember the specifics. But I do remember how it made her feel. I saw the sting of pain in her eyes when my teenage angst blossomed into hurtful words thrown at her out of frustration more than spite. Oh, how I wanted to hug her in those moments, to apologize for my stinging epithets and simply start over, but I didn't because I was a proud teenager and I knew everything.
Now, I know the pain my mother felt only too well as I raise two strong-willed girls who wouldn't know a wallflower if it grew in between their toes. But I also know this too shall pass.
I was a freshman in college when I apologized to my mother for all of the hateful words I had said to her over the years. I called her from my dorm room, and I can't remember exactly what was going on in my life at the time, but chances are it was boy trouble. At 18 years old on the precipice of the girl – woman transition - I knew one thing for sure: I needed my mother.
Like mothers do, she graciously accepted my blanket apology for all of my teenage transgressions, and we started over never looking back on my bad behavior. We spent the next 28 years being best friends until the day she died.
If I could speak to my mother right now, I would take it all back again, tell her once more that I'm sorry for my tart tongue and that I didn't mean any of it. I can only hope that someday my daughters will come to the same realization that even when I don't say or do the right things, I always have their best interests at heart and love them unconditionally no matter what they say to me.
Somehow, we have to believe the parent-child bond will transcend these hills and bring us to a place at the top of the mountain where they finally realize we are not the enemy, but instead are their biggest supporters waiting for that phone call ...
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.