She is such a "young woman" now. Strotting around in her skinny jeans looking fabulous with her long legs. Always looking nice and fresh with well styled hair. Not much make up on but mascara enhances her green eyes and sometimes, like on first day of school after school break, she adds on a bit of pinkish lip gloss... She has followed my advice to just boost the beauty she already has without looking like a clown or something even worse... I really appreciate that.
She serves herself, she cares for herself. She cleans her room... If I ask her to do so. She is always humming on a tune and singing, playing piano and taking out the latest pop melodies by ear. The rest of the time she walks around with a constant ear plug in place and her iPhone in her back pocket. Totally normal, right? And suddenly she can blur out:
"- Mama! You have to listen to this song. It is soooooo gooood!"
Music is really important for her.
When she is in her room, like she often is (behind a closed door with a big "Do NOT Enter!" sign) she plays the music loud. She plays it so loud that the floor, or roof for me being underneath in the kitchen, is trembling... I remember this from my own teenage years. I played "Purple Rain" by Prince on the highest volume possible over and over again for hours on end. Singing along in front of my mirror wall a la 80's, and getting goose bumps all over me of euforia. My Mom never asked me turn the volume down. And so in return I am not asking my offspring to turn it down either.
She is so independent, cool. Has lots of friends and are popular in school. She is smart and mature and she seems to have her own routines. Cuddles are far gone and seldom does she come for help if it isn't to shop for a new top or getting permission for a sleep over. She is growing up.
So when this teenage daughter who seems to be all cool and settled suddenly breaks down in tears after dinner when we are cleaning up together, I feel surprised. And then the confession comes out with a flood of tears tumbling down her cheeks...
It is so hard Mama, she says. She is so stressed. School is hard and incredibly intense and her teacher always tells her to do good. He always asks her about the future, what she wants to do and she has no clue. She just wants to be a kid. Not make decisions for her future. Not yet. And me and Papa always tells her to do good too, and to keep her grades up, and if she fails on one test all her efforts are ruined... That is how it is. And she is scared to fail because she wants to make us proud. She feels pressured and she doesn't know how to have time for studying and everything. And the big test at the end of the year, how will she ever be able to remember EVERYTHING they have learned this year?
On top of it all, she says, she always has to look good, and be cool and funny. Dress in cool outfits and fit in. It's like she can't be herself. She says she can't play and be goofy because then her friends thinks she is weird. And even if she tries very hard to be herself, she does feel insecure and scared to be wrong. Look wrong. Do wrong. And then it is the school camp. Of course... And she's nervous about sleeping in a tent. Being outdoors without a real bathroom. And what if she gets her period that week, that would be a TOTAL disaster... They are supposed to go swimming every day...Jump on trampolines and do rock climbing... Oh how I can feel with her on this topic!
I find myself speechless and suddenly totally off "Mama" guard... and she stands there with black strikes on her cheeks and watery eyes looking up at me. So small. So young. Just a child. So fragile. So totally stressed out as a teenage girl can be. Who would have thought all this was hidden inside of that pretty little thing? And the only thing I can think of doing is to hug her and hold her and tell her: "Thank you for letting me know. I had no idea you felt this way, but now as I know - lets make a plan." Because what else can I do? I've never done this before. She is my first one. The trial and errors child. At least she came to me to confess. That is a good sign. And while holding her close in comfort, I think of all the teenage girls out there that don't feel that they can talk to their parents. The girls that don't have the confidence to say all these things to their mothers for whatever reason that might be, and I'm thinking: I must have done something right after all. We'll get through this, my girl and I.
PS When asking Nelly Bo's permission to publish this blog post she told me she is so happy to have a Mama who she can talk to. About anything and everything. She told me many of her friends don't even dare to speak to their mothers about needing bras or pads or even products to wash their face or help with dealing with pimples... But surprisingly they can ask their mother's to go and wax their legs or dye their hair at age 13...??? The world is a funny place and I am pleased to hear I have a great bond with my daughter on this topic.