Dear Teenage Daughter, I Miss You

Behind your closed door, I stand. Mostly about to burst in with freshly folded laundry or to catch a word of the muted laughter floating through the wall. But I’m here. Behind your closed door.

I am not sure exactly what I thought would happen when you started high school but I made sure that I was ready. I relinquished all obligations. Not even a carpool would I share for fear of missing out on our mother- daughter conversations. Everyone said that’s when I would learn everything. But we mostly drive in silence.

And when I yell I love you as you grab your backpack and are halfway out the car door.. I might get a smile. But once, just once, you asked me to not yell I love you. And then I yelled it.. louder.

Four months later, I’m standing here outside your door, waiting for you to need me.

Six months later, I am starting to understand our new relation-shift. We have shifted into an understanding. I understand that you are the child I have raised, the girl that sat on my lap, the girl that LOVED her mama, the girl whose eyes lit up at the sight of me, and whose eyes closed every night to the sound of my voice. But now, my presence is like a clock ticking. “When will she leave… ?” I hear your thoughts whispering.

I am aware that you would like your clothes clean, your backpack packed, a driver, cash, and your appointments made. You prefer that I only speak when spoken to, disappear soundlessly, and to interpret this new body language expertly.

To your credit, you have amazing friends, grades, confidence and do not seem to need me, but it’s still strange to not talk anymore. I appreciate that you have a natural separation from your parents rather than an unnatural enmeshment that affects your life forevermore. Thank goodness we have established your independence. Except that it’s just so sudden.

My dad always played a tape for me titled, “There’s No Such Word As Can’t.” Those words have guided me my entire life. But there’s something I can’t change Charlie. No matter what you do or say I’m still going to be standing here. Right outside your closed door.