We give birth to them, we nurture them and guide them through their adolescent years and them bam! She’s found the man she wants to marry. How did that happen? Yesterday she was fourteen and I was at her school embarrassing her in her gym class for some notes I found in her room, and today, she’s all grown up and in love. Fortunately, for both of us, she dumped her last boyfriend of four years because he was a “boy” (actually a child). I kept telling her every time she cried about this guy that this “relationship” really wasn’t a relationship, and that when she met the right guy who treated her like she should be treated, she would know it. Guess what, she’s met that guy. He is a great guy. Kind, considerate, respectful, responsible, and he treats her like gold. I keep looking for that one thing that is going to make him fall out of that Prince Charming category, but I haven’t seen it yet.
My daughter and I are very close. A flip just switched somewhere around the age of fourteen, don’t know why, but it did. For that reason, I can tell by looking at her when something is bothering her, she doesn’t even need to say a word as it is written all over her face. I haven’t seen any evidence of anything being wrong when it comes to this new relationship, which is a good thing.
One of the other wonderful things about her and I being so close, is that there is always that clear division between my being her friend and my being her mother. It’s a boundary that we have never crossed. I hear and read many stories about parents who are their children’s friend and not their parent, and I can see how that is a slippery slope. I also believe that it starts early in their lives. Once that boundary is crossed though, it is hard to get that respect back as their parent again.
So, I sit here and realize just how quiet it is in this house. I am not alone, I still have my fourteen-year-old son, but in some ways that still makes me alone, as he has other things to do, etc. However, I do drag him out into society at times—much to his dismay—to go ice skating or out to dinner with the family. I also have my seventy-three-year-old mother who lives with me, but she basically sticks to her room with her lounger chair and her cable TV ... not a lot of interaction there either. She’s seventy-three and she likes it that way, she’s earned it as she has raised four children.
A few minutes ago, I got off the phone with my twenty-two-year-old niece. I was giving her the news about Stephanie and basically I was throwing myself a pity party to her over the phone. She reassured me that I have not lost Stephanie, just like her mother has not lost her. She told me that it is just a new chapter for the both of us, and in her words of wisdom she said, “Aunt Susie, it is time to turn the page.” How did they get so smart?