The initiation into teen parenthood was swift and harsh. Within mere moments of her turning 13 years old I became an embarrassment to my daughter.
Yes, an embarrassment.
Not longer the cool yoga mom with style, I am now shunned with glares that shout: “Don’t say anything to me.”
The request to help in the kitchen or the do me a favor and grab my keys, for instance, are fielded with stomps and sighs and sheer dismissal.
Some older teen girls I know recently told me it passes, assured me that the Abercrombie uniform gets relegated to a middle school fad, and that the wigginess dissipates over time somewhat. Parents I know, and some fellow psychologists, claim that getting past the 16-year mark helps. (I’ve read many of the parenting books on the subject.) Maybe it is the new found responsibility of a driver’s license and more serious thoughts about college filtering in or that boyfriend that hangs around to get your good graces that begs better, kinder behavior.
You mean 3 or more years of this?
Recently, shopping for a baseball cap for her cousin at Lids in the local mall, I began chatting with the women in line trying to figure out whether to risk buying a cap her nephew might not like or getting a gift card instead. I chimed in casually – it was a wait after all. Next thing I know my daughter is flush red, does this full body duck-and-cover move as if we are being shelled, and shrewdly whispers, “Mom you are so weird, why are you talking to a stranger?”
Ok. Shoot me for being friendly.
Forget that I noticed what jeans she liked at the shop next door that appeared under the Christmas tree. I mean, right? (As she would say.)
Of course, this is classic behavior, and rather benign for the first few days of official teendom, but what was a bit unnerving was my physiological reaction. The swish of bonding hormone oxytocin that circulates in your blood stream after having babies and keeps mothers in 24-7 nurture mode (and lasts until the wee ones leave home) – well, it was like an immediate drug withdrawal. I felt depleted, deprived, bruised, yet yearning for a glimmer of connection.
A flash flood. Lost in a parenthood puddle of loss.
I took yoga class the next day. I decided I can only go with the flow and try to institute a modicum of respect and rules at home to bid my time. Of course, if she tried yoga, too, see might understand why the bumper sticker I have on my dilapidated minivan reads: Namaste.