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She still makes us laugh with her silly dances or witty comments, but there are those other times when she is sullen, withdrawn, angry or bitter for no reason that we can see.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.