i’ve tried, countless times, to explain what it is like to be a mom to my teenager daughters. i try to tell them what it feels like when they walk out the front door. i tell them they are taking a part of my heart with them when they walk out that door. nothing really works. and i get that, because i was a teenager once. i knew so much more than my mother did. my mother ‘didn’t get it”. i was smarter, cooler, more hip than she was… i was 13+.
this is normal, this is as it should be. a teenager must be fearless, to let go of her parents, to strike out on her own. if she wasn’t fearless, she wouldn’t be brave enough grow into an adult. it is the way it works.
and she will never understand what it feels like to be a mother, until she becomes a one herself.
when my daughter goes out Friday & Saturday nights, i always tell her to, “be safe” before i tell her to have fun. BUT last night, everything changed for her…
i was watching a movie in my bed, without warning, i look up to see my daughter flying at me. She jumped on my bed & held me tight. (i thought maybe her boyfriend broke up with her again) She was crying so hard, she said,”Oh, thank God, thank God, you’re here, you’re here, you’re here…” i didn’t understand what had upset her so much, so i pushed her away enough so i could look at her face, to ask her what was wrong. She said…
“Oh, my God, mom…Stephanie called me, she told me that she saw your car on the side of the road, that it was surrounded by police cars & an ambulance. I remembered that you said you didn’t feel good today, that you could barely keep your eyes open as you drove home from Bubbe’s house. I thought…i thought it had to be you that Stephanie saw. and i came home to see if you were here. i ran up the stairs & then the door was locked & i thought ‘she must not be here because she locked the door behind her’…but you are here…” she relayed this information so quickly, breathing as though she had run a marathon. tears running down her cheeks.
i held her & she held me tighter. my eyes had filled with tears as i thought of what she had gone through. which is a parent’s worst nightmare…i said, “well, had it been me, that would have changed everything”
she understood what i was referring to…the countless times i have tried to explain why i didn’t want her to go out with someone i didn’t know, or go to a place i’d never heard of. the millions of times i said, “to be a mother, i had to give up a piece of my heart & allow that piece to live outside my body”
my daughter has always been fiercely independent. she seldom seeks me out, but when she does, it is usually because she is seeking permission to go out, or to ask me for something…and to show me her art.
this morning was very, very different. she was trying to find an outfit to wear, she came into my room to ask me my opinion. i gave it, expecting her to leave once i did. but she stayed & she visited with me…and we talked about nothing & everything. and it was wonderful. i know it won’t last forever, as she is busy being way cooler than me. but i also know, that fear she felt, will not ever leave her. it changed her.
perhaps…she understands what i mean when i say my heart is attached to hers. perhaps she now knows that her heart is attached to mine. it reminds me of what Mr. Rochester said to Jane Eyre (a different kind of love, i promise that)
“Because, he said, “I sometimes have a queer feeling in regard to you-especially when you are near me, as now: *it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land some broad between us, *I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.” ~Mr. Rochester to Jane.
*and that is what it feels like to become a mother.