I hate fighting with my daughter.
I mean, I really, really hate it. Yes, she's a teenager. Yes, I'm a periomenopausal woman. Those two things often collide with the force of a fifty megaton nuclear explosion, but I just can't shrug it off like other moms do.
"Hang in there!" My friends say. "She'll hate you for a few years, but it'll even out." "Teenagers are rough, but you just have to get through it," they remind me. Someday, it'll get better, so bank on that someday and keep your eyes on the prize while you're both shouting the house down at each other.
It's not much comfort.
Yesterday, she woke up on the wrong side of the bitch bed, went down to breakfast, and somebody pissed in her bitch toasties right before she boarded the blazing bitch train to Bitchville.
And yes, I just called my teenage daughter a bitch. (No, I didn't do it to her face.) If the shoe fits... and I assure you, it did.
Her brother and I spent a good part of the day walking on eggshells around her, because neither of us could do anything right, apparently. Finally, I had enough of addressing her bullying and getting nowhere and it all blew up. I told her to go to her room and she she said no, so I told her to get on her bike and go ride around until she could learn to be a human being again. I thought a workout might actually help get out some of the pent-up aggression she'd been throwing at us all day.
Those were ugly words, and they had the desired effect: out the door she went and I stood there in the kitchen feeling sick to my stomach, listening to her brother apologizing over and over because everyone was upset and he just wanted to make it better.
I went into cleaning mode, just to have something to do and needing to work off some steam of my own, so as I swept and scrubbed and wiped down and mopped. I put some music on from a streaming channel I like to listen to, and got busy.
Oh, the conversation I had in my mind and under my breath with my child. Her ears must've been burning clean off her body for all the words I loaded into the air over her. They say no one can push your buttons like family, and this child pushed all my buttons and then exited the elevator car, leaving me to stop on every angry floor. I was fuming. I was upset. I was put-upon and tired and once again reminded that I've got nobody who's got my back in this, and I'm dealing with her and her autistic brother and I badly badly need a break some days. Yesterday was one of them.
And then the song came on.
"I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You" by Savage Garden.
And oh, it took me back. It was my daughter's first birthday. We had a big party planned for the weekend, but her real birthday was just going to be us. After dinner and a few presents, somehow we realized we were short on diapers, so her Daddy grabbed his car keys and headed for the store, leaving the two of us alone.
I put on the radio, hoping it would soothe her a little. For some reason, she cried her head off at 7pm every single night, from birth. It used to last the whole hour, but as she got a little older, it was tapering off. So I found a slow. soothing song on the radio and I danced her around, swaying with her to the music.
I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life...
It was perfect. Utterly perfect. I held this amazing little miracle in my arms, the culmination of five years of infertility, surgical procedures, microbiologists, reproductive endocrinologists, petrie dishes, and all of our hopes and dreams. Two failed in vitro attempts, and finally, finally, there she was. And after a year with her, neither one of us could even remember much how it used to be without her. She was everything.
So I stood there in my kitchen, holding a mop instead of my daughter this time, letting the tears flow freely as I remembered what a complete and utter miracle she was, and even if she was a pain in my ass that day, I'd never give her up or trade a moment of her. Never.
Thanks, Universe. I needed that.
She came home an hour later, and changed the music I was streaming without asking me, and when I asked her why, she told me it sucked. And she was kinda right: the songs had degenerated to some sort of horrible pop mix. Instead, she put on a Journey playlist, and we both sang along at the top of our lungs, and we made oven s'mores and the world righted itself again.
Yes, we'll get through this. It'll just hurt sometimes till we do. Welcome to life, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to life.
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