My daughter lied. My sweet, quiet, honest (wasn’t she?!) daughter lied. And not just a little lie, but a big one - the kind with real world consequences.
Frustrated and confused, I wondered to myself, blood boiling: “Is this what being the mother of a teenager feels like?!” But, having been like her in my youth, compassion and empathy seeped in.
This is new territory for her as well as me as her mother. She is searching for who she is, navigating relationships and finding her place. She’s curious about sex. Thinking about the future, but very much in the here and now. She’s becoming a woman and being a girl at the same time, wanting freedom from an adult but less chores than her younger siblings. Being a teenager can be lonely yet liberating. You feel wise but are confronted so often with shortcomings; I remember.
Because I remember, I try to pause, try to have difficult conversations, try to be transparent and admit my shortcomings too. I try to give her space to ask questions, and try to let her know her questions are safe to ask. I stumble through the conversations I longed for as a young girl, when questions were answered with a curt "because I said so." I wanted to be gently pulled in with an "I’m here for you, you are loved, and you are forgiven,". This is also what I want for my daughter now. As a mother of a girl-becoming-a-woman, I must re-parent myself too. Letting go of old patterns and embracing new challenges.
These years are good. Teenagers are not the awful, self-obsessed, lazy things to manage like the world may try to tell you. They are a gift. They will teach US if we make the time and effort to listen. They are fun. They are worthy of the same respect we as adults often demand. They are the future of our world. And WE get to be their mothers. What a responsibility and privilege it is.