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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Teenagers will pull away, just pull with them

When my oldest daughter, Amber, was about 10 or 11 years old people would say, “Oh no, wait until she’s a teenager you guys won’t be as close. And she’s girl, too! Sheez!” I would never receive or believe what they said. I was determined that my daughter entering her teenage years would not be the death of our close relationship.
When she was about 14 years old; I saw the signs: distancing herself, keeping her door closed, one-word answers… and for a second – just a split second – I almost backed off. I thought, ‘well if she doesn’t want to be bothered then I’ll just give her space.’ Then it dawned on me, like the V8 hit on my forehead, I was at the exact moment of the alienation. Maybe it’s teenagers who begin the alienating, but it is parents who foster it and solidify it.
I had a moment of fear. I was scared to say anything to her, scared I would say something wrong and, I admit it, a little scared of her. I knew this was the way that the teenage gremlins sneak in and steal the precious little children. So, instead of respecting her privacy, I barged in when her door was closed; I asked a million questions until she started talking again; I learned the new things she liked; I listened to her talk, I initiated activities together and I was there… ALL THE TIME!


If you ask Amber about that time, she remembers it clearly. “You just would not leave me alone,” she says. But, you know what? She says it with a laugh! We survived the difficult and awkward period of time when she was trying to find herself and be a person separate from her mom. Do you know what else? We survived! We are closer than ever. My 16-year-old Amber, in fact, is one of my best friends. (That’s not always good – maybe I’ll talk about that in another post!) She’s funny, intelligent, trustworthy and a good listener. She’s all the things you’d want in a daughter and in a friend.
Watching her grow from the first baby into a young woman has been the biggest blessings (she’s so mature and eager to be a young woman). It won’t be long before the daughter I’ve raised will be leaving the nest to start her adult life. It’s a satisfying time, an exciting time and a sad time.
Am I the best mom? NO! Is she the best daughter? OH NO! (Just grin and bear it, Amber. I couldn’t resist.) But the most important part is that we have a very good relationship. The best relationship? NO! But, from what Amber tells me of her other friend’s relationships with their mothers, we’re doing pretty darn good.
So I’m always adamant about cautioning other moms: Don’t give into the fear AND don’t be the one to solidify the alienation that your teens will begin… it’ll pass and you can be as close as you ever were.

Update
My granddaughter, Autumn. Isn't she has beautiful as her mommy?


Today, September 29, 2015, Amber is 24 years old and the proud mommy of her own daughter. Guess what? We're as close as ever. 
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