Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Shannon

This is Shannon yesterday morning. Doesn't she look so sweet and innocent? They all do when they're sleeping, I think. Yesterday, she was 12. Today she is a teenager. I'm still trying to cope with the fact that I now have two teenage daughters. Please pray for me. Fannie and Mary, you're laughing right now, aren't you? I can hear you.

A few days ago when I wrote that she was getting Guitar Hero for her birthday, I said that there were some things going on with her that were getting me down. I don't feel that way so much right now, but that may change at any moment. Such is the life with a child going through puberty.

I remember this, I've done it before. In fact, it seems like we JUST did this. Probably because we just did. I'm not really ready for it again, but here it is anyway. I remember going through this with Danielle: the attitude, the snippiness, the silence, the yelling...did I mention the attitude? What I don't remember the first time around is being sad about it. I remember getting angry and yelling back. Who the hell did this kid think she was, talking to me like that? I now know that yelling back just kind of fuels the fire, and doesn't really help any. That doesn't mean I don't often lapse into that, I just know somewhere in the back of my mind that I'm not helping matters.

I'm sad because my sweet little girl is gone, and she's never coming back. No, she's not my "baby", not the youngest, but I think of her that way a lot. We never planned on having a third, and Shannon was my baby for almost 8 years. She was an easy baby, and a sweet, helpful, shy but charming little girl. I miss that little girl. Sometimes I see glimpses of her...a hug (usually when she wants money), playing with her little sister (when she's not yelling at her), or occasionally even a sincere hug and an "I love you Mom." She still makes us laugh with her silly dances or witty comments, but there are those other times when she is sullen, withdrawn, angry or bitter for no reason that we can see.

I remember a few years ago when I was going through this with Danielle, and I made a comment to Steve one day. I said, "You know, I love Danielle, but I really don't like her very much right now." I recall that he jumped all over me, how can I say that about my kid, and that the reason I felt that way is because Shannon was always my favorite, blah blah blah. Well, no. The reason I felt that way at the time was because 12 year-old Danielle was a snotty little shit, and 9 year-old Shannon was still a sweetheart. I reminded him of that conversation the other day when we were having a particularly bad moment with Shannon. I told him that the way I felt about Danni then? Was kind of how I was feeling about Shannon right now. He kind of chuckled and hung his head in a mock "I was so wrong" type of way, and said "What can I say? I was blinded by the kid." I'm not sure what that meant, but at least he now understands that it wasn't the child that I couldn't stand, but her behavior.

I've seen this before, and the only thing that is giving me hope is that I've already had one kid come out of it. And Danni came out on the other side of puberty as someone that I like. She's not the same little girl that she was before, but she's cool. I don't just love her because she's my kid, I like her as a person. She has her moments, like we all do, but most of the time things are good for now. I say now, because I know that could change on a dime too. I have my fingers crossed.

I know Shannon will come out on the other side of this. She'll survive it, and I will too. And we'll probably even like each other sometimes. It's not that I don't like her now. She's witty and creative, and she can be quite helpful when she wants to be. There are those days though, when I want to send her to live somewhere else. Not permanently, of course.

Today is going to be a good day. I'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, my baby. I know you love me, and I love you more than you can possibly imagine, even though it doesn't seem that way sometimes. I can't promise that you're always going to like me over the next several years. I know there will be days when you will hate me, and call me a bitch behind my back. What I can promise is that someday, you'll be able to look back and see that every time I said no, or wouldn't let you go somewhere or do something, or when you thought I was being unreasonable and mean and that I didn't understand, that I was only trying to protect you. It was only because I love you.


Anonymous said...

Wait until she sees the picture you posted of her....DUCK AND COVER! - KLM

Mary said...

Welcome to my World! Two teenage daughters! You were right, I did laugh a little. You get the last laugh though because I have #3 still in diapers.

I love them both so very much and yet, I don't always like them.

My teens are older than yours, so I offer you my survival tips:

1. Never run out of tampons or chocolate.

2. Grounding them for no reason in particular keeps them out of trouble.

3. Tell them you love them even though they don't say it back very often.

4. Trust, but verify.

5. Pray really hard and scream loud when you teach them to drive.

6. Compromise. Hair extensions are better than hair dye!

7. Hang on. It's a wild ride up and down the hormone roller coaster!

I think that about covers it. I'm hoping and praying that my teens turn into good adults who can make wise decisions, dress appropriately, stay away from bad boys, succeed in whatever they do... and all that sort of thing.

Best wishes! Looks like she's starting her teen years looking pretty sweet! Happy Birthday, Shannon.

Lish said...

So many things rang true here on my know that we have Doppelganger lives. Oh, except for that whole boy thing with my youngest two. ;)

I agree that she'll kill you if she sees that pic. She looks sweet. :)

Jenifer said...

Happy Birthday Shannon. Two teenage girls are different then two teenage boys that is for sure. We get the yelling and calling each other names,but then are wrestling and laughing in the next breath. My guys are just loud and stinky. Hang in there, you are doing a good job.

LIBSMOM said...

Just to overstate the obvious, I can SO completely totally 100% absolutely understand every sentiment.
When Logan was 16, I said Man, I really don't like him, I love him but I just don't like him right now. At 21? (in May) I adore him!! He's funny and calm and even tempered. Ian? eh, not so much right now.
I feel ya.

Fannie Mae said...

I'm not laughing. Really. Because I'm still dealing with it. And you are right; I totally engaged in battle with Precious Oldest which just made things escalate. Thank gawd we learn a thing or two! Hang in there, and Happy Birthday to Shannon!!

Fieldsfamily2006 said...

Oh Shelley, I SO feel your pain. Ktie is fixing to turn 15 and Daniel will be 13 in May. I already get hell from him so I am dreading these teen years more than 10 root canals. Katie already hates me 50% of the time. I understand what you mean when you say you do not like the , that is so normal. Love and like have very little in common during these teen years. I'm with you Shell, allll the way. Mom used to say, "You just have to survive the trip over that bridge and when you get to the other side, it will be worth all the hard times". We are crossing that dreaded bridge. Love you Shelley. Happy Birthday Shannon!

MadMad said...

Aww... My daughter's 11, and this captures it all, exactly!

onthegomom said...

Happy, Happy Birthday Shannon!

I am a mother of 2 teenage boys (18 and 14). The 18 year old is just starting to return to his normal, funny, NON-hormonal(yes boys have hormonal fun too) self. My 14 year old is just gearing up... it's a long 4 years! And just for added pleasure my daughter will be turning 14 when my NOW 14 year old is 18 (did you get that...LOL). I was sooooooooooo smart and planned them all 4 years apart.