Last night I got a taste of things to come. And I wondered if is this what life with a teenage is going to be like: She hurts me; I want to hurt her. We both dig in. She tries to move forward, I pull back. Thank goodness she does not give up. But some day she might, and when I move back to her, she might not be there waiting.
This is what happened. I was unloading groceries, making dinner, and helping Sophie research the Panama Canal—a normal multitasking evening in our house. Husband came home from work and wanted his pruning shears. Where were they? I had used them last. He needed them now. If I had just put them back where I they belong, he wouldn't need to be asking me to find them right now. Honestly, sometimes I think I live with two children. I'm sure in his mind making me this mad is his way of ensuring that I will correctly replace the pruning shears next time. Brilliant. I turned off the stove, rinsed my hands, and stormed out into the garage muttering "Fucking idiot!" Which of course Sophie heard.
Later when the pruning shears had been found and I had cooled off, Husband came into the office, where I was Wikipeding the Panama Canal, to inform me that Sophie had told him I called him a fucking idiot. So now we have another little fight. I am sorry. Husband goes on for a while. We work it out.
But my girl had betrayed me, which she has never done before. She tattled. And she did something she knew would get me in trouble. And I thought maybe she's not my pal; she's just my daughter, and this is what mothers and daughters do to each other. For the next hour I was uninterested in her cheery chatter ("Look, Mama! This purse had a special place for a water bottle!" "Fine.") and rebuffed her attempts at making up. I was finally able to hear what she was really saying: It hurts her when I hurt her daddy. I agreed to try not to do that. She agreed to talk to me if she does not like something I am doing.
"But," I said, "you know, sometimes he really is . . . "
"Yes, Mama, I know."
I've got a few years to get this worked out, right? Or maybe not.