I am not prepared for life with a teenager, I am not prepared for the independence and the defiance and the rapidly changing goal posts. I naively thought this would never happen to me – we had such a great relationship – but the changes have been quick and I have been left open-mouthed, frustrated and hurt by the venom and the attitude.
It’s a time to balance picking the right battles – and there could be many over make-up and clothes, getting up, joining in and going out – and a time to let her discover some of life for herself. It’s the toughest learning curve since she was weeks old but instead of holding her close I am sometimes left sitting and waiting and hoping she is ok, that she is safe, that she is with good people.
Fleetingly she has a need for reassurance and comfort from me – when a cuddle helps or just a chat and I long for more of those moments, when she is my little girl again.
I am devouring books in the same way I did when she was a baby but I know I need to set them aside a little – it’s a really tough road but I feel that instinct and observing her during this next stage is still just as important, as is the need to trust her and to let go a little. She’s growing and learning and working out who she is and who she wants to be and I know she has to do it but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone – you couldn’t pay me enough money to be a teenager again. So I shall continue to feel unprepared and making it up as I go along, while trying not to take the latest outburst too personally.