My daughter is a tween rapidly entering the teenage years at warp speed. One hand permanently attached to a digital device and a short-term memory that can rival a 90-year-old patient on Topamax, we’re charting new territory on a daily basis. Roller-coaster hormones, eyerolls that I fear may require surgical intervention to correct her vision and instantaneous tears that come with the fact that “I clearly do not understand” the emotional turmoil of her daily existence are all the rage at our house these days.
I must admit, sometimes I don’t know my own child.
Yes, there are still those moments when she snuggles up next to me and whispers secrets and shares moments of her day. We can still split a bag of microwave popcorn and giggle over a movie, laughing about silly things that don’t matter much. Shopping is becoming more of an interest and Mom is always game for a little retail therapy, knowing that she’ll open up as we trod through the mall and see people and places that spur conversation. But those moments are fleeting.
She is becoming her own self. She values her quiet time. Her privacy is sacred and, more often than I like, she squirrels herself in her former playroom to call and text her girlfriends, play video games or just ‘chill.’ I miss her. I am not the fun one she wants to hang out with anymore. I am officially the uncool Mom.
On a walk the other night, I told her it was ok to think of me as weird and out of touch. That being the Mom of a tween meant I had to be uncool and sometimes embarrassing. I told her we were entering some rough years, where it was going to feel like we fought more than we should and that we were going to disagree on everything: clothes, studies, friends, boys, etc. I told her she might even think she hated me at times. But that deep down, she wouldn’t. That even if she got really mad at me, she’d love me and that I would always love her. Always.
I gave her permission, as hard as it was, to let go of my hand. To let me be the uncool Mom that she needed to walk a pace or two behind her and her friends. I promised to trust her a little more to make decisions on clothes and hairstyles. To not judge her about her decisions on friends and music.
But I also promised to be her Mom and not her best friend. Parental. Authoritative. Firm. Loving. And with all the boundaries that are required to safely see her into adulthood.
Yes, it will come with more eyerolls, slamming doors and tears. But it will also come with hugs, laughter and a lifetime of forever “I love you’s” and “thank you’s” for trusting and believing in each other.
So, here’s to the Uncool Moms everywhere! Long may we lead our children into outrageously wonderful tomorrows!