Talking is a big part of our family life. Whatever direction our teens are taking on their route to adulthood and however nervous I might feel sometimes I take comfort from the chats we have. Tonight was no exception.
My daughter is an extraordinary young woman. She has battled bullying and more on her journey through primary to secondary school and yet she has come out stronger and I love her for that in more ways than I can count.
She is different for sure but as she fast approaches her 16th birthday I can see her for the fabulous female she will be.
Her primary years were tough. Her secondary years started positively then took a downturn when she was sucked into a relationship that was quite simply negative.
We stood back as instructed by her in order to let her find her own way, but that was for us the most agonising point of our journey. As parents we wanted to step in and protect her but we knew that could not only in her eyes destroy her fight for independence, but also make her look weak to the girl trying to bring her down.
Bring her down she did and we were there watching on the sidelines, tortured every night by her stories of angst and left quite simply feeling helpless. We had been there before and didn’t want it to happen again. The difference this time was that she felt more confident, or so she told us at least, to tackle it alone. And she did. She saw her frenemy for what she was. Weak. She fought back alone and came home stronger.
Tonight around the familial table we chatted about those years, those experiences and despite my raw memories of those times I could see that stepping away and leaving her to get on with it and deal with it herself was indeed the right move.
The introduction to our chat this evening was a forthcoming reunion at her primary school. Should we go or not? Memories are tough to shed and she has a lot of bad ones from those days. Our initial decision was not to, but as we talked and chatted we decided why the hell not? She is stronger now. She has nothing to be ashamed of after all.
The battle is and will be facing those people that made her life so miserable. Pupils and teachers alike. Why? She didn’t fit the norm. I say that glibly because who knows what that was, or maybe still is, but we were all made to feel she fell outside the parameters.
The school she is at now has made her flourish and shine as an individual. That is what good education is about after all. Finding the person beneath the stone. My daughter is unique. Different maybe, in that she doesn’t accept the norm and questions life but god we are so proud of her for that. Why not show her off for the gorgeous and clever young woman that she is and has become? Confident. Resolute. It is her time to shine and she will and why should we shy away from that?
We covered a lot of ground during our chat, her and I. Not least the value of finding new friends, real friends and moving on and I shared my own experiences too because we all have them and our children learn from those too, so why keep it quiet?
Of course such a chat meant we shared stories of dead friends along the way ie those we don’t want to resurrect for whatever reason, mainly that they were not there when we needed them and weren’t worth the effort anymore. Move on was the mantra and don’t look back only forward.
My daughter laughed out loud during this part of the conversation and laid the blame at my mother’s door - but in a nice way - my mother never looks back and instilled that in to my sister and I from an early age. Once bitten, twice shy as they say. If they let you down once they will do so again.
I for one am looking forward to the next part of my daughter’s journey. She has a solid group of friends around her, she is sure of her stance on life and what she wants and there are few that can say that at her age.
In the meantime I hope she knows we are always here and have her back. It’s been tough in our house over the last few weeks as her brother fights his own challenges and there are many changes ahead but those chats like the one tonight make me happy. A word that rarely passes my lips sometimes in the teenage years but I am proud and sure of the successful woman she will be become. Can I ask for more? Quite simply - no. Dear daughter if you ever read this please know that I love our chats. X