Doors slamming, feet stomping, snooty retorts hurling in your direction. Welcome to the dark side of raising a teenager.
I, for one, was certainly no exception.
In my adolescence, I was angry. Angry at all the things I couldn’t control — my changing body, fleeting innocence, friends that were drifting away, and the blame I put upon myself for my broken family. I felt ugly all of the time, and it showed. I wore baggy, unflattering clothes, and made sure to reject everyone else from my life before they had the chance to reject me.
But despite this whirlwind of unwanted change, there was one constant: My mother. She was my rock. I can’t imagine the frustration and helplessness she felt watching me go through all those years of doubt and uncertainty, but she was always there for me — despite my brash words and spiteful acts.
And, if I could, I would take back every single hurtful thing I ever said to her.
It isn’t easy to embrace a rebellious child, but she did it. From the very first “I hate you,” to the very last (and beyond), her faith in me never wavered. And now that I’m a mom myself, I can appreciate that it’s all because she understood. Everything.
She would observe my surface behaviors, but knew there were weighty reasons behind it. Moms never give up on their children (especially during the tumultuous teenage years) because they know, deep down, that the good stuff is still in there — waiting to resurface.
Even though I can’t go back in time and change things, I am just so thankful that we are close today. Mostly, because I realize that not everybody has this opportunity. The quality time my children and I get to spend with her is priceless. I’m grateful for her laugh, and for her endless supply of love. I envy the caregiver that she is and will always be. And I will never stop being impressed by the effortless way she can cook up a batch of delicious tortillas in 30 minutes flat.
When I was younger, I used to hate when she’d take too much time to stop and talk to people at the grocery store. But now, I see the beauty in her little quirks — the beauty in the way she gives back to people. In fact, it’s something I hope to inherit from her myself. She will always, always be there for anyone that needs her.
These days, she’s retired. Wrinkles line her face. Her rough hands are marked with the work and care of so many years. Her hair has gotten a lot more gray, and her pillbox is the accessory that goes with her everywhere. Still, nothing stops her from chasing her grandkids around, and making sure everybody has everything they need.
So yes, I’d take back every rude thing I ever said to my mother if I could; but the truth is, I can’t. So instead, I’ll take a page from her book on how to handle these transitional times with my own children one day. (We do, after all, incessantly joke that payback is on its way to me.)
As for my mom, I will honor and love her today. And if you too are lucky to still have your mom with you, I hope you’ll do the same.More On