People warned me that my daughter would turn into someone I would not recognise when she became a teenager. I was a non-believer. No one turns into a monster from the Exorcist at the drop of a hat was my thought.. My daughter loved spending time with me and wrote me endless ‘love you mummy’ notes that I cherished. You see I never thought that I would have a child then just as I was pushing my biological clock along she came.
Mothering her was great fun, watching her try new things and listening to her saying all those silly things that only children could say. Then she turned 14 and most of the time I don’t recognise the child living in my house. I don’t mean this literally, of course. It is meant to convey a sense of change of which I had not played a part in. For the first 13 years I steered her, nourished her both mentally and physically and watched over her. Now, she does not need me it seems though people tell me that a teenager needs her/his mum more than ever to provide boundaries.
Well, she has headphones on almost all the time so she cannot hear me setting boundaries. I would have to physically draw boundary lines much like American policemen do in TV murder mysteries to mark the spot where a dead person has been cut down to get her attention. When she does listen to me I am given airtime of about 30 seconds before being cut out with her retorts of, ‘listen to me’, ‘what do you mean?’, ‘you stress me’ or ‘you don’t understand?’ She goes out a heck of a lot. The house feels empty when she is not here and the house feels empty when she is here, come to think of it, because she shuts herself in her bedroom. Even the cat has taken to sitting outside her bedroom door and meeowing incessantly because it misses her.
Life has changed beyond recognition and I do feel rather nostalgic for the days gone by which will never return. People calling this ‘growing up’. My mothering is at odds with this ‘growing up’ because my instinct is to keep her close. Only consolation- I am not the only one.