I knew the first time I watched my daughter fall while learning to walk that motherhood was going to be rough. I knew when the doctor said, “It’s a girl,” that every woe I’d visited on my mother would be paid back on me with interest. What I didn’t count on was revisiting the emotional torture I’d experienced in my teens with an extra dose of powerlessness.
Simply put, my teenage years SUCKED. You’d have to get into seven figures to get me to consider willingly doing it all over again. I was shy. I didn’t know how to play the games girls play. My mother, God bless her, didn’t know them either and couldn’t teach or counsel me on how to cope with their catty ways. My house was toilet papered and egged more times than I can count, and my mom’s car got spray painted one night by a nasty, jealous girl whose name I can’t even remember.
So, yeah–high school didn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. Now my oldest is hitting her tweens, and all I can say is, “God, help me.”
Growing up is awkward, plain and simple. Girls are developing WAY earlier than I remember it happening, but the vicious, backstabbing bullshit is still the same. Yesterday my oldest got off the bus, her lips so tight they had no color, and her chin tucked tight to her chest. She got in the car, slumped down in the seat, and broke out into tears.
And so did I.
I knew it was going to be another girl fight. We’ve already had a few skirmishes, but I could feel this one was going to be particularly nasty. I held her until she was able to actually talk around her sobs, the whole time my heart aching with the same pain I felt thirty plus years ago and then some. I couldn’t decide what to do. Part of me wanted to go track down the bratty little shit who’d hurt my kid and do something to put a healthy dose of fear in her heart.
No, I didn’t go there, but I’m not ashamed to admit I thought about it. The second my girls came into the world they earned my protection and I honor that mamma bear instinct for all it’s worth.
In the end, I tried to explain to my baby she’d get through this. That she has a choice in who her friends are and she can find new ones who don’t play mean games. That those who DO play games aren’t worth her time or love.
But the whole conversation raked more painfully than when I’d trekked through it myself as a teen. I look back at the memories of watching her fall when she first tried to walk and realize how easy that life lesson was in comparison. The expression watching a train wreck comes to mind, because you feel exactly that helpless.
Have you had similar experiences with kids growing up? How did you/are you dealing with it? More importantly, how much longer until the tears don’t fall as often?
Growing up sucked the first time. I have a feeling the second time is going to be worse.