I HATE YOU

It was bound to happen sooner or later.  I was warned.

The words were shouted from the shower, heard over the falling water,  where she assumed she would be safe.  If she had locked the bathroom door she would have avoided my pulling open of the shower curtain all “Psycho”-like, leading to her blood-curdling scream.

At that point I couldn’t even remember what she hated me FOR.  13-year old girls can hate their mothers for so many reasons.

I called her father, my ex-husband and said “I just got my first ‘I hate you.'”  He laughed, not unsympathetically and said, “Uh oh, what happened now?”

I know my daughter loves me, almost as fiercely as I love her.  I generally ruin her life by not letting her use my phone or laptop the second she needs it.  I sap her will to live when I tell her for the MILLIONTH TIME not to leave all of the lights on in the ENTIRE HOUSE when she goes to bed after us.  She is clearly destined to become a raging alcoholic because God forbid I should ask her to flush the toilet every once in a while.

I’ve become one of those people that when someone mentions to me that they have young daughters I’ll say, “Oh, good luck with that in a few years,” or “You’re so lucky you have boys.”   I’m that cliched mother of a teenage girl.

I’ll check in with my friends who have daughters the same age to make sure that I’m not being unreasonable to not buy her a $125 DRESS FOR AN 8TH GRADE DANCE.  I’ll double-check when she tells me that so-and-so’s mother is letting her bring $40 TO THE MOVIES FOR A TICKET AND SNACKS.

I remember the one time I actually physically tussled with my mother.  She was blocking the door to our apartment, not letting me out for some reason.  At 5’5 she was not exactly threatening to my 5’9.  I think I just tried to push her arm or something and we did everything in our power not to break a smile at the absurdity of the whole thing.

I can’t begin to count the number of times that I’ve yelled, “If you ask me that one more time….” and not come up with an actual thing that I would do if she asked me that one more time.  I have tried reasoning, the “look at me when I’m talking to you,” yanked her tablet out of her hands and not let her use it for a week, threatened that if she slammed her door “ONE MORE TIME WE’RE TAKING IT OFF THE HINGES.”

There will be two weeks of utter perfection where she’ll actually CLEAR THE TABLE WITHOUT ASKING or offer to…hmm…I’m actually not coming up with anything else, but suffice it to say, she’s not the devil child, what my husband has called “the succubus, (second definition–“any evil spirit or demon,” not the primary definition which has something to do with seduction of men in their sleep).

There is no logic to the flip-flop of devil/angel other than the obvious hormonal stuff.  She really is an amazing, compassionate and most importantly, confident young woman.  She has great friends, great judgement and gets me.  I’m sure the reasons she “hates” me will change over time.  Maybe I’ll discourage her from dating the “bad boy,” or not let her go to the biggest party of the year, but I do know that without question that we’re in it for the long haul, together, with that unbreakable bond that I never knew would be so overwhelmingly magnificent.

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8 Comments

  1. This is just what I needed to read today. No, actually, it’s just what I wish I had read 10 years ago when my daughter was 13. Thanks, Gayle!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. ruben

      the mandarin character for peace is ‘one roof over one woman’ while the character for war is ‘one roof over two women’. seems a perennial truism that ‘womanhood’ begins at thirteen … so, good luck, Gayle; only four-plus years to go until Amelia leaves home for college (and pangs of “empty nest” kicks in).

      1. My daughter studied Mandarin from age 14 to age 17… this makes sense in that context, certainly!

  2. Karla Rideout

    What a wonderful piece Gayle.

    1. Thanks Karla! Sound familiar at all?

  3. You got the knack! Great piece.

    1. Knack for what? My fine parenting skills?

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