I am feeling like a not-adult.
Like a baby.
I am trying to work through my own feelings, and think through my own emotional reactions.
“Suzie, it is normal that your 14 year old does not want to be at home. It is normal that she wants to spend every waking moment with friends.”
But over the past two weeks, I’ve been stung by the number of times she’s run out the door the second she finished her homework, or the instant she stepped out of the shower – seriously – maybe she could dry off first?
And then yesterday a certain string of things happened that made me realize that my feelings of rejection aren’t really about her being busy, it’s about the fact that she is always going to the same place – the home of her “best friend” who lives directly across the street. I don’t like her being there that much, for various reasons (the biggest one being that I feel that her mother is a non-parent).
It’s bothering me.
Yesterday, at dinner / well, by “at dinner” I mean at the end of my dinner and the beginning of hers, because she was sent from the table for really raising her voice and all-out YELLING at me about vitamins / I inquired about her weekend plans. (Three Day Weekend, woo hoo!) She said she had plans to go with her group of friends to a craft location in order to make a birthday present for this friend’s mother.
I threw up a little bit in my mouth.
Considering that this is my daughter who completely blew off Mother’s Day this year, and gave me a “hug” as a gift/token of her appreciation. (Although to be fair, she kicked ass at both my birthday and at Christmas … but I still don’t have the consistency that will allow me to forget the sins of Mother’s Day.)
Then I saw on the ever-informing Facebook that my daughter, and her small group of friends, are planning on being the party planners for this other-mother’s wedding this coming early summer. And then I was all tangled up inside, and had to stop myself from running down the hall and telling Lemon that (a) she is not allowed inside the house across the street, ever, for the rest of her life, and (b) she is not allowed to attend the wedding, or take any part in the wedding AT ALL.
(Yes, I am aware that I’m like a jealous wife, only the mom-version. )
But I calmed myself down. With great concentration and outloud-talking-to-myself. I tried talking to my husband, but he became all … male-like. He wanted to talk about things from a “logical” standpoint and to analyze the situation, and Lemon’s relationship with the friend, and basically I tuned him out and got twice-as-mad because he wasn’t understanding me AND my daughter was deserting me.
I am calm today. I am okay today. I am recognizing my overreaction of last night.
I’ve really never been a huge fan of this friend. Mostly because she brought Lemon a lot of misery in the early middle school years (5th and 6th grades). WD isn’t so fond of her, because she has a mean streak, and she’s a real leader … and Lemon seems to follow. But I haven’t seen her following extend to the meanness. I’ve seen her stand up to this friend in meaningful ways, and I’ve seen her champion for the friend’s targets. But we’ve also questioned whether some friendships that Lemon has “outgrown” in recent years were actually friendships that this best friend didn’t approve of, and which Lemon was pressured to dispose of. Both of the “outgrown” friends I have in mind were known to be focal points of the best friend’s hatred and mockery.
I also recognize how harmful it could be – potentially – for me to step in forcefully against a friendship at this age (and I thought the same at previous ages, because I have much less reason to step in now than I used to). I remember being a teenager. I remember my mother arbitrarily (so it seemed) decided she “didn’t like” my friends, and having to come up with excuses why I couldn’t go to their house or to the library with them after school. And eventually, I came up lies to my mother about whose house I was going to, or who I was going to the mall with.
If Lemon’s friendship was a truly destructive one, I’d step in. But I’ll save my big guns (if I really have any) for those moments.
In the meantime, I’ll be a parent – not a peer. I’ll get over my own mis-placed jealousies, and make sure that I’m enforcing reasonable boundaries for the right reasons (i.e., impending midterms).
I will also employ the technique that so often works magic, see if I’ve still got the touch: I will take her out for sushi over the long weekend, and spend some 1:1 time together. Between both of us having pretty full weekends last weekend, and the week having passed in a blur, we’re a bit overdue. It should help ease the tension, and get us back on the right foot.