You asked me to give you some space. You asked me to give you some privacy. I get it. I respect that. You want me to stop asking you so many questions about your life. About your friends. Boys. The details of your school day. Who you sat with at lunch. Who you’re snap chatting. What you ate for breakfast. How many times a day you poop. Joking. But I get it. I really do.
I wanted space too, when I was a teenager, and my parents gave it to me. I didn’t even have to ask for it. I was the second youngest in a family big enough to field a baseball team and by the time I came around my parents were tired. So I got my space. They gave me rules and boundaries, lots of them. But they gave me space. Space to make my own mistakes, space to learn my own lessons, space to work out my own problems. I want you to have that too. But here’s the problem. You’re the oldest. That makes things harder for me. A lot harder. And by extension, harder for you. I’m sorry. It’s hard to let go. Not because I don’t trust you or because I worry about what’s happening around you. It’s hard because our relationship is changing.
For the first time, it’s going to be different. As you’re celebrating your freedom and new experiences, I’m grieving memories and lost opportunities. I’m grieving that little girl who would beg me to lie beside her in bed so we could chat about… everything. The one who would eagerly tell me about every aspect of her day, her life— but I’m not going to go there. I’m not going to torture myself. I don’t need to because you’re still that girl. You’re still her. Just different.
But I need to grieve. Not for long. Just for a moment. Okay, maybe a day or two. I need to recognize that my irritability, annoyance and melancholy isn’t because I’m PMS-ing, it isn’t because my thyroid is acting up, it isn’t because I didn’t get enough sleep or because your younger siblings are destroying the house. I can handle that. I’m just trying to hold it together. Trying not to break down in front of you or your dad. He knows something’s off. But I don’t want to talk about it. It’s painful.
I’m sad because I don’t know who we are anymore. We’re in transition. It sucks. But it’s okay. It is now at least. I needed to let myself feel it. Define it. And express it. I’m okay with it. I am. I just needed to get it out there and see it for what it is. You might be wondering why I’m telling you this. I’m telling you this simply because I love you and don’t want some undefined hurt to come between us. Because it would. I’m telling you this so that you and I can redefine who we are. And what the new relationship we have will look like.
I spoke earlier about my parents. They gave me rules and boundaries, too many sometimes. But they gave me space. Space to make my own mistakes, space to learn my own lessons, space to work out my own problems. And like I said, I want you to have that too. It will make you into a strong, confident, capable woman. One thing that I missed as a teenager however, that I distinctly remember wishing for, was that I could talk to them. My parents. I needed their advice. I needed their wisdom. I also needed to be honest with them about what I was up to or who I was dating. But I felt like I couldn’t. I was afraid to disappoint, and even more afraid of being grounded for life. So I kept my mouth shut. I leaned on my friends instead. Luckily I had great friends. But I wish to this day that I had my mom’s soft gentle shoulder to cry on, my dad’s wise ears to listen to my problems, and on-call, judgement free, late night talks with either of them.
Maybe you’ll wish for that too. Or maybe you’ll wish for something different. For now you want some space. More privacy. I understand. I respect that. But that space doesn’t mean a weaker relationship. It doesn’t mean there will be distance between us. It means you’re stronger. It means you’re growing up. It means that you’re becoming more capable and confident. And that is exactly the type of woman I want you to be.
Our relationship isn’t changing. We’re just adjusting the boundaries. I will still listen to you, support you, comfort you, cry with you and, when necessary, redirect you. I will be the mom that you uniquely need me to be. Whatever that looks like. However we define it. Built on the foundation of my constant unwavering love for you. That part will never change. It never has. You’re my girl. Always. Forever.
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