Monday, April 19, 2010
A Mama's Pain
Over the years I've received several variations of an email about what no one told you about being a parent or what you wish you knew before becoming a parent. Well, I have a new one. No one ever told me or prepared me in any way for the fact that the only thing that hurts more than your own adolescence is your child's adolescence.
Seriously, it was one of the worst times in life. Especially if you have little brothers and sisters that are "steal the show" cute.
Where did this body come from? This body that seems so much bigger and more awkward than the one I had last year? Not the body of a little girl but where is the woman's body that I hope I will have? Is my body and development (or lack thereof) normal? What is normal?
Where do these tears come from? The tears that overtake me without any notice and sometimes for no reason at all?
Does anyone like me or understand me? Do they even want to be in the same room?
Why does everyone else have better clothes and shoes? And why isn't this outfit as cute as when I put it on?
The pain and insecurity of adolescence is sometimes paralyzing.
Exacerbated by any real or perceived difference. Such as allergies. Allergies that you can see. Allergies that make you sneeze and draw attention to you.
How do I tell my daughter, my precious daughter, that it will only be fully and completely gone around the time she turns 30? Ok, that may be a little bit of exaggeration. But not totally. When I hit my 30s I finally felt okay with who I am. I certainly don't have an overabundance of confidence, but I'm me and that's okay.
In the meantime I have to convince her that I do understand it, that I haven't always been this grown-up (ha!) that she sees. That I went through most of the experiences she's going through and will go through. That it's painful but that it will be okay if you keep the faith and look for the light at the end of the tunnel? That's the thing, because I have been there I know that there are so many curves and turns in the tunnel that you CAN'T see the light most of the time. All you can see is dark and scary times. Times when you have to take the next step, not really knowing what you're going to step on or in. It's the worst kind of tunnel. The kind where you can't turn back.
Through all of this I still have to be her mother before I'm her friend. Sometimes it's tempting to befriend my daughter in a way that would not be healthy for either of us. I must push her to do things that are, at times, uncomfortable. I must discipline her when she messes up. But I get to hug her when she needs a hug! And lots of times a hug is worth a thousand words, right?