Dear Mother of a Teenage Daughter:
I know she slammed the door in your face for the third time this week.
You stood outside the door for two full minutes, taking deep breaths, trying to decide if you should force your way through the offending door and demand respect or threaten to ship her off to your sister. Your sister wouldn’t put up with these juvenile temper tantrums.
Or . . . you could just shuffle down to your own room and cry yourself to sleep.
You settle for crying yourself to sleep. Again.
Feeling like a miserable excuse for a mother. Again.
I’m sorry this is so hard. Here’s a big hug from me (( HUG )).
I know there are good days too.
The two of you can sit and talk for hours about boy problems over a gallon of ice cream, and there are times when you laugh about silly nonsense things that only girls understand. As a mother, you cling to these precious fleeting moments before the tide goes out, sucking your daughter back to the hormonal sea and out of your reach.
You’ve worked hard to reconnect.
You ask, “How was your day today?”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
This is where you expect her to ask how YOUR day was, but she’s already zoned in on a text message that just popped up on her phone screen.
Hello, Oh-So-Familiar-Awkward silence.
You want to snatch the phone from her and throw it out the window.
These days, it feels like those rare moments of connectivity are like playing BINGO—the lucky numbers rarely line up for you as another distraction in her life sweeps in before you claim the prize. But, you keep trying, because you crave that relationship with her. It’s the instinct of motherhood—a love so deep it almost hurts—that keeps us pushing through the barriers to reach our daughters.
She will want it too, mom. Someday.
In fact, she may want a relationship with you now, but has no idea how to reach out. Her pride is like an over-inflated balloon—the slightest nudge can cause her to explode and send her flying in a hundred different directions. Admitting she is wrong may be nearly impossible for her, even though she is keenly aware of her faults.
A simple hug from you without saying a word can speak a thousand words to her heart. She may not have the words to express herself clearly. But small acts, like doing the dishes without you asking her to, are her way of responding to what she thinks is your love language.
My mom died tragically when I was nineteen, and her absence in my life has left an aching chasm in my heart. But it wasn’t until I was in my 30s, with three children drawing on my limited emotional reserves, that I truly found myself looking to the heavens and saying, “I really need you, mom.”
I think there is a good chance that your girl will reach out to you when you least expect it. She can only keep those walls up for so long before a few bricks crumble down, and she lets you in, if only for a brief visit.
Cherish every fleeting moment with her.
Hug her as tightly as you can, when she lets you, even if you feel like you would rather lock her in a tower until she grows up and appreciates the awesome mom she has.
These teen years won’t last forever.
It’s just a few short years down the road before she will open that door that she slammed in your face and never close it again.
When that day comes, few things will be stronger than the mother-daughter bond you will share.