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Lessons from My Daughter

My daughter and I have had a challenging relationship since before she was even born. She arrived two weeks late and I learned quickly she would only do things when she was damn good and ready, including her birth. 

Fast forward to the early teen years - the dreaded 13 - 16 age range. At age 14, my daughter and I never saw eye-to-eye on ANYTHING. It was a terrible time as we tried to cope with puberty, weight issues, boys, acne, school and living in her "perfect" older brother's shadow. My daughter was involved in many sports including volleyball, danceline and softball. I went to every event, home and away. I wore beige and never cheered for her directly, for fear of embarrassing her. But I was always there, whether she wanted me or not. And the majority of time, it was the latter. I always encouraged the other team members and cheered the team as a whole, but never singled out my daughter by name. I just yelled things like "Nice play!" She still hated me being there or even associated with her... 

My daughter was on a traveling team for volleyball and I had been the mom who always drove to out-of-town tournaments. One weekend I was especially tired of her attitude, tired of traveling and just tired of it all, so I asked her to talk to one of her friends to see if their mother could drive. She looked at me and said the following, "I want you to drive us to the tournament. I always know that when YOU drive we get to the right place at the right time and we are never late." At that moment, I realized there was hope! 

Those years from 13-16 were hell. There were many tears, hurt feelings, slammed doors, and more fights than you can imagine between my daughter and me. For those mothers of daughters, please tell them to hang in there. Keep going to the games/speech meets/plays and other activities - even if they don't want you there. Don't embarrass your kid by running up to her after the event and hugging her. Instead, catch her eye and smile. Then leave. It's enough for her to know you cared enough to show up. Today, my daughter is now 19 years old, soon to enter her sophomore year of college, and we get along very well. 

In addition, there were other girls on the team who knew they could also depend on me for a ride when their parents choose not to attend. So, to the moms out there: eat the bad hotdogs, sip the warm Gatorade, munch on the stale popcorn. Sit on the uncomfortable bleachers. Do it all so your kid can see you and then ignore you. Some day, she will want you there to help her move in to her new dorm...and cry when you leave. I promise, she won't ignore you forever. Hang in there..... 


Tags: Attitude, College, Education, Family/Relationships - Parent/Child, Parenting, Relatives, Siblings, Stay-at-Home Mom, Teenage girls, Teens
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