I remember how utterly terrible those teen years were. Beyond awful. Beyond my worst nightmare. My adoring little sweetheart, mommy’s sweetheart, had turned into a teen-zilla. Challenging me, pushing me, defying me, screaming at me. Our cozy little condo had turned into a war zone. What had felt like a warm, loving home had morphed into an atmosphere of what can only be called hate. I admit it. She shouted she hated me often enough, and truth be told, I felt the same way.
I felt despair for a long time. Until one nite when she stormed past me into her bedroom, slammed the door, and sobbed and gulped into her pillow. And I heard her despair. That’s when the old mommy instinct finally resurfaced.
I realized that not a kind word, not a gesture of affection, had passed between us for so long that I could not even remember when. I tapped on her bedroom door and sat on the side of her bed. I gently asked her if I could please talk with her. She lay there, looking at the ceiling and wiping the tears away.
“I just want to tell you, sweetie, that I can’t remember the last time I told you that I love you….and I do. I love you very much. I want you to know that even though we fight about your behavior and my rules, I think you’re an amazing kid and I am very proud of you. …and I still really would like to be able to give you a hug….?”
My little girl picked up her arms and we hugged, fiercely, with both of us now in tears. I can’t say everything changed after that. We still fought, but the atmosphere of hate had vanished. I tried to remember to say something nice to her every single day. She started to smile again. And the descending spiral we’d been sinking into was reversed by me. The mom. After all, that’s a mom’s job, isn’t it?