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Saturday, March 19, 2016

When You Realize Your Daughter Will be a Great Mom

The little girl was afraid to go down the slide. Bright green, perhaps two yards in length, she would climb up and sit at the top but not let go of the bars.

There's a moment as a mom, a lot of them really, when you see in your daughter the mother that she will become and this was mine. My 16 year-old daughter is an athlete, fearless, and won't take nonsense from anyone. I watched her climb up the stairs and sit down behind the girl and try to convince her to let her hold her as she went down. But it was not going to happen, at least while I watched.

She was gentle and kind, but would not push the little girl. About 2 years-old, half Asian and half white she had ivory skin and a smile that appeared little by little, as though she could not give all of herself at one time. The girl wasn't crying or stubborn and she respected my daughter but wasn't going to do what she was afraid of.

I sat on the bench with the dog watching the two of them and wanted to cry. She would be a wonderful mother. Her patience was natural, her love of the little girl simple and pure. I hope I have the chance to see that side of her with a daughter of her own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

With a 16 year-old better to be conflict averse

I was 16 once. I remember what it was like to know everything, to roll my eyes at whatever a grown-up said and to thwart rules whenever possible. To think that the entire world revolved around the boy I loved, and my friends. To look in the mirror so many times, looking for flaws, always looking for what was wrong not what was right. To hate my teachers and love some as well.

I get that my daughter thinks I'm an idiot sometimes, but underneath she wants a mom who is silent but there. This is my youngest child. The incredible, beautiful, competitive, heartbreaking girl that I gave birth too. Then why do I hate her back sometimes too?

The contentiousness between a 16 year-old hormonal beast and a 58 year-old (no I am not her grandmother) mom is constant. I say something and she barks back. She says something and I reply in my calmest voice, yet she barks back. I feed her - she says thank-you. She cannot put the phone down at meals so I say something. The blank expression of what have I possibly done wrong. What could you possibly have to say that would be more important than this Instagram post from someone I don't know who is trying to be funny and succeeds marginally?

And the not listening. Am I really that boring? Do you really have to tell me you have heard me tell you that 100 times. And why can I not remember that I have already told you? Because I'm your mother - that's why. So suck it up and listen to me say it again.

So I have come up with a plan that is in all the parenting books - pick your battles. Don't criticize. Encourage, be nice, walk away before yelling back. Take a deep breath and go to my happy place.

But when it really counts I am there. And when there is a reason to be tough, I am tough. I say no when there is safety involved. I live with the short skirts and shorts.

She's got to grow up sometimes.