For My Daughter

Dear Daughter-

I have sensitively opted not to use your name in this post, as I know the very act of my existence has become a terrible embarrassment to you. That’s okay, because I remember what you were like before hormones ate your soul, and I can’t hold a grudge. I know when you say that you hate me, you don’t really mean you hate me…what you hate is that I have control over all of the little things that make your world go ’round. Your cell phone, the computer, your curfew, your access to facebook (sometimes), your access to FREEDOM. Trust me, you’ll get over it. It only feels like you’re going to die-no teenage girl ever actually expired due to missing out on some monumental social event.

Believe it or not, I remember exactly what it is like to be a fourteen year old girl-thanks to you, it has all come roaring back to life in living color. Yeah, I know, my mom used to say the same thing, and I thought exactly what you are thinking right now; “Yeah, right…you have no idea what it’s like for ME.” Oh, but I do! Some things do not change, no matter how many advances in technology are made. I know how intense everything is in your heart and head right now. Every day is either a fantasy or a tragedy- there is no in between. I know how your heart races when you see that scrawny little skater (or whoever it is this week) with the annoying hair cut that is two inches shorter than you. I know how devastating it is when your “friend” who knows you like him “steals” him from you. I know you feel crushed, beyond help, as if you can never, ever show your face in school again. I know that when one or two girlfriends turn on you, it feels like you don’t have a friend in the world. I get it. Worst of all though, is understanding every bit of what you are going through and knowing I am the last person in the world who you want to talk to about it. I am, after all, just your stupid old mom.

I wish I could fix it for you. If it weren’t totally outrageous and against the law, not to mention humiliating beyond belief for you, there have been many times when I would have done at least mental, if not physical, damage to the people who have hurt you. But that’s not the way things work (thank God, right?) and so I have to sit on my hands and bite my tongue, knowing the same kids who have you in tears today will be over here for a sleep over in two weeks. And while they are here, I have to be nice and kind and never act as if I know any of the rotten things you told me about them.

There is advice I could give you, but you won’t hear it until it plays back in your head ten years down the road. Ah, what the hell, I’ll tell you anyway- That boy you like right now? Chances are, a day will come when he will want you SO BAD, and you will look at him and think-‘what was I thinking?’ When he smiles at you in high school, or at the mall when you are 27, you will smile politely and walk right on by, thinking ‘don’t say anything, don’t say anything, he’ll think I don’t know who he is…’ OR, seeing as how you tend to have better taste in boys than I did back then, he’ll end up liking you after all, you’ll date him for a while, he’ll be a horrible kisser, and you’ll move on.

Those girls that you have such a rough time with? Honey, I hate to say this, but they are just exactly like you- no worse, no better ( well, maybe a little worse.). I know they seem like they have it all together and they are confident and beautiful and they have normal parents. Believe me, when they look at you, they think the exact same thing. When they look in the mirror, they cannot see the beautiful face that the world sees- just like you can’t. All they see is everything that is wrong. On the inside they are just as awkward and miserable and full of anxiety and angst as you are, but they don’t let it show because they are scared to be different. There are like two or three ultra popular, shallow, gorgeous, confident girls in every middle school and high school that are catty, mean and cruel to others without discretion. These girls generally develop thyroid problems within five years of graduation and battle obesity for the rest of their lives. It’s only fair.

But you won’t read this, and even if you did, you wouldn’t believe me. Before you know it, all of this shit will be over and it will be on to bigger and better things. Hopefully, one day you will wake up and realize how wonderful it is to be exactly who you are, and decide to share only that person with the world. That would be the perfect answer for that stupid question you ask me from time to time- “Why’d you even HAVE ME then, if you hate me so much?” There have been moments when I have questioned my ability as a parent, but I have never, ever been sorry you were born. There is no question that I have made a ton of bad decisions in my life, but you, little girl, have never, not even for a second, been one of them. I would have to say that you are one of the best things that has ever happened to me, even in light of the disaster that has been our relationship lately.

I love you more than you would ever guess right now- maybe even a little more than you love yourself. I have always loved you this much, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, and even after I die ( I don’t know what the rules are concerning love after death, but if it is possible, I plan to keep going). I am aware that I get on your nerves constantly. Everything I say is upsetting, everything I do designed to steal joy from your life. This should mellow out soon, I’m betting. By the time you are thirty or so, I will be at least tolerable, if not a welcome sight. Some day, you may count me among your best of friends. But not today. That’s okay, I’m willing to wait.

With all of my heart,

mom

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6 thoughts on “For My Daughter

  1. Wow. I am in tears. You are SO right. And since I am YOUR mom, Court, I know all this is true. And yes, I too remember what it was like to be a hormone-crazed 14 year old who is positive her mother was never young, never beautiful, and never cool. My little grand-daughter is lucky to have a Mom who gets it. Blog on!!

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  2. Hi Courtney,

    You just left me thinking back in time. I wonder why this realization doesn’t dawn upon us earlier in life. Sure it is an important step in growing up but if the encounter with those raging hormones is cut short I think it would minimize the damage done and the regret too. What can we do now more than watching history repeat itself …

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