Guest Blog: Message to Fellow Parents – I Used To Be Dirt. Now I’m Beach Sand.
Guest Blogger Jo Ann Dearden shares important pivot points – fulfilling and challenging – that have marked her relationship with her daughter. Many parents of teenagers and young adults will recognize this story.
Raising a teenage daughter is a big challenge. Some mothers had told me that their daughters developed the teenager attitude at the age of 12. I guess I was one of the luckier mothers—my daughter, we’ll call her D., didn’t develop her attitude until she was 14 – a pivot point for both of us.
Her attitude was one of total disrespect and condescension. She was always angry and nasty.
It was then, I became dirt. I was sub-grade to anyone living. There was nothing I could do or say that would pass muster with D. I became persona non-grata.
A good example with a little bit of history…my biggest passion is I love to sew. I made all my clothes growing up and I used to make D.’s special holiday dresses. They were gorgeous. She would say to me, “Mom Easter is coming. We better get to the fabric store.” I was so proud.
When D. turned 16, she was invited to go to the Junior Prom. She very strongly said she did not want me to make the gown for her. She wanted to go to the cool stores and buy one. Ok, it is a great experience to go out and try on all the lovely gowns and find the one that makes you feel special. I understand.
I got really excited. I thought how much fun it was going to be to see my little girl try on dresses for her prom. Momma’s pride and joy. Well, that dream crashed REAL FAST – I was blindsided by this pivot point! I was told she would not allow herself to be humiliated with Mother there. Only her friends were allowed to help her pick out her prom gown. My heart broke.
I felt like dirt.
This attitude continued until she went away to college. She spent her Freshman year at a college in Ohio which is a 10-hour drive from home. The princess managed to get a private room. My story? That was too bad. I believe it would have been a good lesson for her to live with a roommate and learn to share.
Very shortly into the semester, she started missing home. She went from not speaking to me at all to getting texts from her every half hour – we were pivoting back to the positive. She even called me a couple times a week just to talk to me!
Her time away made her think about herself and her attitude. Ohio was too far for her to drive home for fall break or Thanksgiving. There was no mass transportation for her to take to get home. So, she spent her first Thanksgiving away from home. She found it a little tough. Her big, bad attitude started to give way to compassion and understanding.
She began to trust me more and asked my opinion on life matters. Many times, my advice was spot on and much to my surprise, she started using it. When she came home for Christmas, I saw a slightly softer person. I even got a hug and an “I love you.”
It was then I realized I had been elevated to beach sand. As the year continued, she started respecting me more and talking to me with a civil tongue.
Today, at the age of 19 D. still has a long way to go to fully maturing. But, I have high hopes it will happen…it is happening. I see the pivot points and mark the moments with joy.
Who knows, maybe someday soon, I will be top soil! A mother can only hope.