In the twinkling of an eye, my little girl has become an entire teenager, bubbling with pure fire in her veins. Her mood swings sway more than the swing of a trapeze player and I swear that on more than one occasion I have questioned what it is that I am doing badly as a mother that I cannot see her 100% happy. Ha! What an illusion! To think that I am responsible for the ruckus of those ruthless hormones. Then when I remember my own adolescence, I realize that she is in a fascinating stage that I must enjoy myself equally to the others that have preceded. Well, some time ago I started a plan of action to get closer to her heart and find a way that to be close to her at a time where all her fibers scream independence.
Today I want to share this list of actions that I have performed and that have given me good results in this intense madness called “Being a Mother of a Teen”
- Spend time in exclusivity with her, and when I say exclusivity, this includes my cell phone. Every week I try to spend some time alone with her that might well be sharing an ice cream or watching a movie on Netflix. For Daniela, quality time is one of her primary languages of love so I never trade this part.
- Treats and cuddles that include physical touch. Daniela is extremely affectionate, she likes to give and receive affection translated in kisses and hugs of the people she loves. His favorite are the morning. She enjoys when I wakes her up, cuddles her, and after breakfast she goes back to bed with me even for “5 more minutes” as she says herself.
- Accepting her friends and giving me the opportunity to meet them and share with them is important to her. Daniela has always been a very social girl and at this stage of her life much more. As a child, I made the mistake of criticizing her friends very much and this affected our relationship by burning an important bridge between us. When I realized my mistake, I was very sorry and I understood that it was almost too late to make her understand that I trusted her and her criteria when choosing friends. Thank God, it is never too late and the burned bridge has been renewed little by little, as I have learned to listen to her without judging and giving me the opportunity to let go my “overprotective phase.” Even today, when I share with her friends she says to me: “Mommy tell me, what did you think of my friends?” Moreover, when she hears me: “Your friends seems cool” she smiles from ear to ear and says, “I told you Mommy, not everyone is bad.” Ha ha ha ha
- Pay attention to the things she likes as silly as I can. Daniela has always been a very curious and creative girl. One of the things she enjoys most is to experiment, to put into practice everything that that red head comes to mind. From making a homemade lipstick, cooking a new dessert, making origami, to painting the nails with very eccentric designs that I confess that on more than one occasion I have generated a tremendous mental short circuit. Connect with her interests, show genuine interest, sometimes get involved with the execution of her inventions, in order to share these experiences with her have opened a valuable window.
- Every night chat about our day. “Mommy tell me what you did today?” Is the everyday question. This gives us a good 15 minutes where each one can tell the other about her day, many times we have been encouraged, supported and glad each other by the simple fact of being a participant in the life of both. I have learned that by doing this my daughter does not feel alone in this world when she has to face the challenges every day.
- The affirmation words are an infallible vaccine. There are certain phrases that raise her soul and enlighten her day as she told me. Some of these are “my baby girl”, “mama’s jingle bell”, “you can do it”, “I love to see you do what you love”, “I am on your side”, “you have a very noble heart”, “I love to see you smile,” or when I call her by her nickname “My beautiful Tununa”.
- To give her my lap in silence. My daughter can be very angry or crying seas of sadness or frustration and more than having Mom riddling her with questions of “What’s wrong with you?” what she needs is the gift of my love-laden silence. Sometimes she does not even know why she is so angry, melancholy or sad. It simply is and she does not want to talk or do much … just BE and FEEL. So I’ve learned to calm myself down while I see her crushed and shut up all my inner world (the one that wants to overwhelm me with a million questions about why my daughter is this way or who is to blame for her tears) and just offer her my lap. Every time I have seen her like this, I cuddle her in silence and let her cry all she wants and after a while, she recovers and always thanks me with a hug my silence and comfort.
- Planning and doing something together is something we both enjoy a lot. She loves to make girl plans “Just you and me, Mommy” and when she hears me say “Yes, let’s do it” and see that I take the time out of my hectic schedule is better than any Christmas. This can be something as simple as doing a new exercise routine that she found online to plan a surprise for someone special. Whatever it is as long as she feels that I am on board and I am an accomplice to her occurrences.
- Go to the beach. My daughter cannot deny that she is an islander, born in the Caribbean. She loves the sea, the sun and the sand. Sailing is her last passion, she enjoys feeling the air in her face while the boat sails and dives into the sea. Of course, this is an activity that we cannot do frequently, but every time I can, we go. I do not know who enjoys it more, if she or I.
- Accept her as she is with no intention of changing her essence. The issue of accepting her as it she is has always been clear to me. Accepting her is synonymous of I love you without conditions. The issue is that this girl since she was kicking me in my belly carries an explosive energy that sometimes translates into strong confrontations. In addition, in more than a dozen times I have wanted her to be different … more submissive, less fire. I think this little woman is the person who has challenged me most and has confronted my judgments, beliefs and paradigms. Being a woman from her gaze is very different from what I thought at the age of 13, and for that I thank God. Daniela has taught me so much and has given me a constant training of tolerance and awakening. It is not a surprise that one of her favorite songs that she sings all the time is “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.
My friends as you see having a teenager who is explosive, extremely active, creative, emotional and fearless is a more brutal training than any boot camp offered by the local gyms. This requires a lot of effort, dedication, perseverance, patience, love, time, planning, and much love.
Kisses and hugs from me for you.
Photo: My daughter Daniela. January 2017, Jamaca de Dios, Jarabacoa. Rep. Dom.