Daughters …

As some of you may know we now have a teenager in the house and I have to be honest it was like someone flicked a switch and suddenly there was this very mature young lady.  I have heard horror stories from other friends, colleagues and seen the transition of the secondary students I have had the privilege to teach over the last 22 years.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect whether we would have this petulant, even more hormonal (yes!) young adult mooching around the house, slinking up the stairs, closing the bedroom door and getting up to things you don’t even want to think about – so don’t go there.
Well the flicked switch seems to come and go a little like Dr Who’s tardis – yes you know what I mean you hear it before you see it come and go.
I think I can hand on heart say that as a parent there was a real low point when we found out that a video had been uploaded to a well known website and it was all about the one obsession that is the be all and end all of their existence – yes come on you’ve been there either yourself or with other friends children …  what could be so important in your daughters life?   Ours is her obsession with One Direction.  Yes we have all been there and loved a certain band, group, individual.
So why were we so upset …. are they good role models?  Not sure if I am qualified to answer that after sitting in the 02 with thousands of screaming girls – I was surrounded by the majority and there were a few mums near me who all looked at each other and sung along to the songs because we had had them drilled into us in the car, the house anywhere our daughters could bombard us.  It felt like a rite of passage and I cried when she cried as they came on stage because she was growing up and experiencing life!
So what had she done now … ohh yes the video … the fact was that it was uploaded without asking us what we thought of it, the content and how it was presented and permission was not given.  She very quickly unloaded said videos – yes there was more than one and we explained how posting things like this can lead to x, y & z and how careful she needed to be.
There have been other little blips since turning 13 but they seem to be little potholes in the road and we have managed to curtail it.  How come we said 20 Facebook friends and you have 100 so she culled the friends very quickly and we were down to the important ones.
So you can imagine when a few days later I came across this article (please click the link) and it made me sit back and really think about how special our daughter is and how she makes me feel as a woman.  I am a late 60’s baby and have a very young outlook on life believing that life should be lived fully and experienced … I encourage the children to have this philosophy and any opportunities to get out into the big wide world and experience life I and my husband fully support.
When I was reading the article this really struck me …


It took me decades to learn what these girls seem to understand intuitively: not to confuse disagreement and rupture, conflict and loss of love.

They’ve hit the ground running because of the changes in the lives of women. The culture grants them opportunities that were once male-only, but it still gives to girls with one hand and takes back with the other. I wonder sometimes about the tradeoffs: aprons for eating disorders, strictures for stress, limits for deceptively limitless choices. Still, while my mother’s generation couldn’t even imagine certain freedoms and my generation grew up fighting for them, liberation is the birthright of this group of young women. You can feel it in their strength.

I felt an affinity with the author that made me sit back and think about how lucky I was to grow up with opportunities and how I was parented.  My parents believed, as I do, that life is to be lived and so I was given the chance to experience it as fully as possible.  When I announced I was going to University in London I didn’t see the emotions my mum went through with me finally leaving home to embark on the next stage of my journey in life.  But believe me I certainly know what she was going through as I experience the same roller coaster with our daughter.
Our daughter recently went on Guide camp and had a fantastic time away from home from the Friday evening until the Monday.  Did we miss her?  Ohh boy yes, all of us, my husband, son and I all kept saying how quiet it was  and wonder what she is doing or they were planning to do this but look at the weather … ohh well they have the hut to go in and they’ll be having fun.I was so excited going to collect her and couldn’t wait to have my “squigey squeeze” and yes for those that listen to BBC Northampton Treasure Quest I have nicked this from Johnathan.
That hug was wonderful … each time they go away from the nest they come back with a little more enrichment to their lives.  I love the fact that life is grasped, lived and adds depth to a wonderful character.
What did it feel like after half an hour of both children being back together …. like someone had dropped a nuclear bomb into our midst and I wanted to bash both heads together because they kept squabbling and saying nasty things to each other.  Only after we had sat and thought about it did peace reign once again in the household.
Having a daughter can be challenging but so rewarding … when I gave birth to Imogene I don’t think I ever thought about what it would be like, the author, Anna Quindlen mentioned this sentence from “Mother Daughter Revolution”
“Suddenly, through birthing a daughter, a woman finds herself face to face not only with an infant, a little girl, a woman-to-be, but also with her own unresolved conflicts from the past and her hopes and dreams for the future.”
Well it has made me sit and look at my relationship with my own mother and how we interact and the conflicts we have had over the years.  I remember being completely high on gas and air (having chats with fairies – yes some of you know that one) after the birth of Matti and my husband
saying “Claire you don’t want to be like your mother” … my response was “I’m not like my mother!”
In reality I think I am and I try hard not to be over reactive (big fail sometimes), to be patient (getting better at this) and to believe that we tread a path for a reason and that it is to enhance our life so that during our journey those individuals who cross our path are meant to to add depth to both of us, to support, love & nurture them.  We may be friends for a short period of our lives but we leave an imprint and an enrichment that forms us and helps us when we meet another.  I remember someone saying to me that I would know my true friends and would be able to count them on one hand …
I am honoured to be a mother of a daughter – thank you Imo for letting me be your mummy or mum as you would prefer to call me ….
Having a daughter can be a complex matter for a woman. Despite those who burble about someone to shop and chat with, the truth is that in their search for self, girls challenge their mothers in a way that boys rarely do.The ruling principle of burgeoning female identity seems to be a variation on Descartes: I am not my mom, therefore I am.~ Anna QuindlenRead more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2004/12/12/i-ll-never-stop-saying-maria.htmlArt: “Generational Dance” by Anne Nye

☾ Katharine Krueger ~ Occupy Menstruation
Girls’ Empowerment and Coming of Agehttp://JoYW.org/

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