jeudi, mars 03, 2011

Heartbreak House

It's happened so many times that I should be used to it by now. Whether it's food, or clothes, books, or music, I make my offering -- hoping that it will be acceptable, will alleviate the wrath of this angry goddess, with her red-tinted hair and deep blue eyes.

Far more often than not, she rejects my gift, an edge of adolescent contempt in her voice.

And I take a firm grip on my lower lip, willing myself not to return flames with flames -- sometimes.

My daughter, all of 15, lives close to the edge.

Gifted with superior intellect, but grappling with a lagging memory and lack of focus, she is capable of racking up high test scores while "forgetting" to do her homework. Homework detention has become an ongoing fact of life in our household.

She's a self-avowed atheist in a family of believers, won't ever borrow her mom's "girly" clothes, and has allied herself with the "rage rock" followers of the Insane Clown Posse. Then there are a succession of "boyfriends" (we won't allow her to date yet).

With the exception of a few friends who are either childless or have sons, I rarely talk about her challenges. Too many times, I have had other mothers either suggest that somehow I am responsible for her travails, or sleekly congratulate themselves that their own daughters are doing just fine in school, thank you for asking.

When I'm not royally pissed by her tantrums, my heart breaks for this child, with so many gifts, who cannot yet see her own inner beauty. Lately she has been leaving a succession of emails, notes and computer messages around the house -- not meant for me, but not exorcised, either.

She is pleading, she is hurt, she is worried she's going to lose.

My vigilance has not protected her from risky behavior. My love and tenderness hasn't touched her spirit, seeking affirmation solely from her friends. Too often, I lose my temper. But I stay the course.

It seems I cannot do anything else.

6 commentaires:

Allyson a dit…

Just keep loving her.

Sabrina Vourvoulias a dit…

Even those with academic high achiever daughters have challenges – of a different order, perhaps, but no less real or overwhelming.

And what mother of teenagers – boy or girl – doesn’t see her expectations, umm, edited? Knowing how intensely wonderful the protagonists of our daughters’ stories are, we want to push and pull the story into shape – edit out what we know to be extraneous or too sad or too risky – and make sure that the narrative is linear and hits all the benchmarks we’ve outlined in advance. Yeah, right.

I really agree with Allyson on this one, just keep loving her, and at some point you’ll realize she recognizes that for the magnificent gift that it is.

Offcenter a dit…

Some fascinating grist for my counseling courses on diversity, tolerance and exceptionality here. Moms of daughters, dads, sons, feel free to keep commenting! ;-)

BigLittleWolf a dit…

I count my blessings (as a mom) that I've had boys. They aren't angels, but I suspect that boys are easier on mothers than girls.

The good news?

By the time they hit 17, they like you again. Sometimes, even by 16.


muchtoofarfromhome a dit…

I also see my (is it possible?) sixteen year old son with a world full of angst attitude that belies his intelligence and inner innocence.

All I keep hearing from others is to just keep loving him. And I do. It's tough sometimes, but I do. What digs under my skin is that as a divorced parent, I so need him to love me here and now. Continually. To come out of that angry teen shell and once in a while tell me that he loves me and to hang in there Dad.

I think of the years that it naturally takes for all teenagers to come out from under that veneer of contempt for their parents (such as we all did to varying degrees), and I lament the wasted time spent with arguments, scorn and derision. It's a teen thing.

When a few (or more) years have passed, I hear that it's a wonderful time of reconnection and renewal of love.

But, it's those combative years leading up to reconciliation, punctuated by bad decisions, consequential implications and lifelong memories that weigh heavy on me.

Offcenter a dit…

That is so beautiful, muchtoofarfromhome. Thank you so much for sharing!