Last night, I actually felt proud and satisfied of myself as a parent.
Teagan was having major anxiety about an opportunity for an overnight camp at our tae kwon do school. Teagan doesn't do overnights. And everything has stacked against her for this one - none of her TKD friends will be there, it's at a different school than ours, her teachers will be there but not any of the staff she knows from our location.
But she still wanted to go.
So we worked through it in various ways last night. We made a pro/con list. We communicated with the school owner about what she was nervous about. And when it was finally bedtime, Teagan thanked me. For supporting her and understanding.
It was a very lovely moment.
This morning, she wanted to ride her bike to the library by herself. She has a special tutoring session there for 90 minutes. Then ride home by herself. I said no. She's only 10. She doesn't have a cell phone so wouldn't be able to contact me if she got in trouble, got hurt, needed help.
I didn't agree to her plan. So she turned on me. She wanted dad to be home. He's nice, I'm awful. She hates me. I'm not the boss of her. She was sent to her room, she was defiant, she packed a bag to run away.
It's like the rubber band of the bond between us from last night had been let go and snapped back and launched in the opposite direction.
Parenting is hard. It's hard in ways that can't be described with words. Last night, I was winning. This morning, I'm totally failing.
I have cried this morning. But can't fully let it out because Zach still needs me to be his mom. He doesn't need to pick up the pieces that his sister broke off.
And what terrifies me is hearing from so many that it will only get worse.
I'm a hopeful person and it isn't a hopeful thing to think about the drama and angst of adolescence. To see the spark of rebellion and angst and even hate in her eyes already and to know and be affirmed by others that it will get worse.
Maybe we all need to change our language.
Instead of downgrading a mom's experience and putting the fear of the future in her, maybe we need to just say - "I've been there. You're not alone!"
For this morning, I will keep working through the knots in my stomach. I'll keep trying to figure out how to heal and correct the hurts from this morning. I'll plow ahead and get through this day.
And I know I'm not alone. I know other moms, other parents, have kids in their lives who cause pain with words and attitude. Other moms doubt themselves, question their choices, fear the future.
I've been there. You're not alone.