I can't do anything right. And I am an awful mother.
This is what my daughter thinks of me.
And I have to ask myself, how did we get to this place?
I know. So many friends with children older than mine have told me this is what it's like. "Just wait, it gets worse before it gets better," they tell me, smirking.
Except, it's not so funny.
And although, if I can step back and look at it all objective-like, pretending I'm just an observer, I can accept this place we're in, and know that this is all 'normal' and expected.
But it feels so abnormal, so wrong, and so awful, that I can't for the life of me see how it could be normal, in any sense of the word.
Because it was just yesterday that I was holding her tiny hand in mine, and she looked up to me as her everything, her adviser, her truth teller, her safe place. Where did that little girl go?
Now, we have a girl who is still a little girl in so many ways, but is also growing up all too quickly, and believes she already is all grown-up, and fights me every step of the way, all the time, about anything and everything: don't forget to brush your teeth, time to get off the computer, or whenever the mother in me comes out and lets her know that what she is saying or doing is improper, or just plain wrong. Or, I remind her for the tenth time that she needs to get her chores done, and she angrily accuses me of nagging her, and that's why she isn't doing it.
A child's logic.
A logic which, to me, is senseless and meaningless because it comes from an as yet unformed mind, but a logic which, nonetheless, hurts me to the bone when she states it with such venom in her voice, such a hatred that it takes me by surprise everytime.
She leaves the house in the morning without so much as a good-bye, more often than not. I never know why she's upset. She just is.
Why does she hate me so much? I ask myself time and time again, seemingly more and more often as the days progress. Why is everything such a fight? Why does she seem so uncaring? Why does it always feel like she is out to hurt me with every look and word?
I know it's partially me and my ways. I am sensitive, often overly sensitive. I know this of myself, and I accept it. I walk through the tears that come up unexpectedly when I'm at work and thoughts of our last big blow-out come to the forefront. I fight the urge to lash back at her, as another child would, reminding myself I am the grown-up here. I remind myself time and time again that I am a good mother, a mother who has done everything and then some for my children, for my daughter. I remind myself that I made her my priority when our son was ill, because I worried about her psyche, worried that she would grow up feeling lost and alone because her mother was always at the hospital. I did everything right, most of the time.
But, when my daughter, whom I love more than life itself, tells me she hates me, and repeatedly treats me with such disrespect that I feel like it is a live being all unto itself, I know it's all her, and then I feel sad, because it's like I've lost my child altogether, and I don't know if I'll ever get her back.
There are still moments, moments when it's just the two of us, and it feels like old times, when we would laugh, and she would tell me little secrets, and she would be my daughter again, the way I know her. But they are few and far between.
This new girl, this girl I do not know. And I can't say I like her very much either.
I have decided I have no control over this, and all I can do is keep loving her, and wait for her to get through this awful phase, because it must be just as awful for her as it is for me. I think.
And I have to remember to keep breathing, and remind myself she is my child, my firstborn, my sweet girl, and that this too shall pass.
I am a 46-year-old mom of two amazing children and wife to a wonderful and very patient man, and a lucky friend to many. I am a Realtor and a writer, but have also been a journalist, editor, and daycare provider. Not every day is a good day, but I sure try to keep smiling.