Over the last several weeks, my oldest daughter and I have been at an impasse. Me I am trying to strike that delicate balance between instructing her and not smothering her. Every day I am trying to learn how to let go. After all she is almost 18. She is trying to grow up and find her own way which often times means doing the exact opposite of what I suggest or what she thinks I would do. Nevertheless, we just can’t seem to see eye to eye anymore…and it hurts. This is my baby…my firstborn…but I have to let her go.
Now with my youngest, it’s a different story. She and I are like two peas in a pod right now. We do everything together. While I try to convince myself we will always be like this, deep down I know that this will soon pass. Like with her sister, she and I will soon reach a similar impasse with both of using trying to figure up how to grow. As much as I would like to think it will be easier the second time around, I am not hopeful. After all she is my baby, my youngest and she always will be.
Then there is my own guilt for somehow feeling like I have gone wrong in so many ways. Feeling like I need a lifetime of “do-overs” to right the wrongs I have imposed upon them. Trying hard to separate the reality of my parenting mistakes from the games teenagers play on us as they take advantage of our guilt. They’re smart and they know as parents, we all have regrets. Deep down they know in some ways they are owed an apology and will stop at nothing to exploit that when it serves them well.
My girls are no different….they do deserve an apology. Their childhood was not perfect. They probably suffered because they had two teenagers for parents. We didn’t plan to have them. We were trying to grow while raising them and I am sure they lost out. But with all of that in mind, one thing I will never apologize for is loving them. While the pain I may have caused them was most definitely unintentional, my loving them was not. It was on purpose.
Today I sat them down and told them just that. We hugged, we cried and they said “Mom, we know!”