Parenting as Torture

My teenage daughter wrote this on my facebook wall for Mother’s Day:

“Happy Mother’s Day!! You are one of my best friends, you understand me more than any other person on this planet and throughout everything you’ve been there for me. No matter what happened you’ve always pulled me through and gave me love and you are the best mother I could ever ask for.”

Damn straight.  Just kidding.

Before you go thinking I’m the best mother on the planet, know that this child has given me a run for my money.  This is the child who gave me 24hr morning sickness, the child who broke my tailbone coming out, the child who broke out in HIVES when her little sister was born, the child who had pneumonia at 4, the child with a nut allergy that needs a traveling epi-pen, the child with asthma, the child who needed anti-depressants after a horrendous 1 1/2yrs that almost had her hospitalized more than once – and now that she’s finally starting to cope better she has her first SERIOUS boyfriend (which, considering all she’s been through in the last year and a half, has me scared to death of sex and a broken heart).  Oh my Lord.  This parenthood thing is torture.

That said, this budding, struggling and finally somewhat happy young woman is one of the most awesome people I have ever known.  She is maddening, frustrating, fierce and stubborn.  Yet she is also kind, more sensitive than she will ever admit, curious, and utterly loyal.  Sometimes I do NOT understand her at all, yet most times I understand her more than she’ll ever know.

On the one hand I am SO enjoying her growing-up, because the conversations we can have now that she’s getting older are intense and WONDERFUL.  At the same time there’s the “parenthood thing is torture” – I want to protect her with a passion so deep I’m afraid I’ll explode.  I call that the “Mama Bear.”  It’s a scary thing for everyone when Mama Bear claws come out, and thus far I’ve been pretty excellent at restraining myself, but we all know the potential is there for me to unleash the Mama’s fury should there be a real threat to my cub’s safety or happiness.  It’s a tightrope walk between giving her too much freedom and suffocating her.  The tightrope walk is definitely NOT fun – for any of us.

Mothering her has been an intense journey so far, filled with a lot of joy and true terror.  But I wouldn’t trade one day.  Okay, I lied.  Maybe I would trade a day or two… but I wouldn’t trade HER for the world.


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