Life With My Girl

I can still remember the moment when I learned I was going to have a daughter.  I was flat on my back in the ultrasound room of my doctor’s office in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  R was with me waiting with baited breath as the technician measured the femur, checked the heart chambers, and did the full anatomy scan that the 20 week check up entailed.  Me being me, I was listening hyperintently for any signs of hesitation or distress on the part of the tech, a sure sign that there was something wrong with my baby.  But there was none of that.  On that warm, October day, the news was only wonderful and happy.  The tech told us we were having a little girl.

I had always wanted a girl.  I remembered when I was pregnant with my eldest, thinking a girl would be easier for me to raise as a single mother.  My mother as well had hoped for that, wanting a pretty little thing to dress up in frilly frocks and dainty headbands.  Of course we loved my boy as fiercely as anyone could when he arrived.  Things happen for a reason.  I was given a boy.  And my boy was amazing.  But in the back of my head, of course, I had always hoped I’d have another chance.  A chance for a girl.

Laying there that October day, the news hit me like the hot summer wind of the state we were living in.  It washed over me, stinging a little, heating me up.  “We’ll name her after my mother,” I said quietly to my husband.  And in that moment, I had visions of the perfect, sweet little girl who would be the perfect tribute to my wonderful mother who was taken from life too soon.

Be careful what you wish for.

My mother was many wonderful things:  strong, determined, independent.  She was also insecure, addictive and hypersensitive.  And so it should be no surprise to me that my daughter, her namesake is all of those things.  Her spirit is unshakeable; it is what I love and hate about her. Can you say that about your own child?  You’re not supposed to, right?

As my precious girl gets closer and closer to her teen years, I ache more and more often to talk to my mother about how to handle her.  I have heard over and over that preteen and teen girls are like oil and water with their mothers.  I have a vague memory of my own mother telling me that they were tough years for her and her own mother; wounds inflicted by each of them didn’t heal until my mother had her own children.  I have friends who tell me that they barely spoke to their girls from age 12 to 17. Really?  Can that be possible?

But I can see it, really.  Because while I love my daughter, there are days that I don’t like her.  Even that doesn’t sound strong enough.  There are days when I truly dislike her, or worse.  She screams at me.  She grunts at me.  She takes me for granted.  She doesn’t see anything outside of her own wants and needs.  She is horrible to her brother sometimes more often than not.  She fails to see at all how lucky and blessed she is to live in a relatively wealthy suburb with two parents and two cars and a stable life. I get angry and upset and wonder how on earth I have raised such an ungrateful, selfish person.

But then something happens.  Last week, for example, I went to her sixth grade parent teacher conference.  And I heard two teachers describe the wonderful, smart, helpful, generous girl that I send off to school every day.  I listened to them enthuse about how curious she is and thoughtful of the other students when they need help or advice. And I kick myself internally, because my first thought is:  “they can’t possibly be talking about the same girl that screamed at me this morning because we were out of cream cheese.”

But they were.

I guess it’s time I learned how to ride the roller coaster of Life With A Nearly Teenage Girl.  Because I’m finding myself dizzy all of the time with the twists and turns.


One Response

  1. Clicked over from your sweet comment on Mo’s blog. Yikes! This post just scared the crap out of me.

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