By Harrriette Schwartz
When Sandra Bullock won her Oscar, she teared up and spoke of her mother..who knew the things her daughter would do before she even tried them..to sort of paraphrase her comments. Mothers whose own mothers ad infinitum, always knew the ill moves their young ladies would attempt for one good reason...apples do not ever really fall far from trees and mothers were untrained fearless young ladies once too.
I used to sleep with my car keys in my pillow case. It only took one time of my daughter taking them at 2am while I slept for me to begin protecting both of us by hiding them where I would have to be awakened before she could get them. My young teen girl without anything more than a driver's learning permit would not be joyriding my Honda to her pallies house again anytime soon. Mothers have been there and they too have done that. Just as an example, I told my mom I was going to a dance at the local Y, and my girlfriend and I went with phoney IDs to a Manhattan night club because we were gaga for the singer playing that night. Did my ma know? Yeah, probably.
You played their role first so its natural to see the pitfalls. Then its your turn to be mom to a teenager. You remember being one right? Parents were too stupid to be considered part of the inner circle, much less spoken or listened to. As a writer when my daughter was a teen it drove me berserk that she would not heed my words, I who had taken all the impossible and ignorant leaps she was now taking. Hey I was the oldest of three and had to lead the way. Oftentimes I was certain I could hear my own mom looking down at me from heaven and laughing. So I wrote my daughter notes. Actually they were neatly typed (the Virgo in me I suppose). I’d leave them taped to the inside of her door, or on her mirror, somewhere I knew they would be seen. Most times I would find them in the trash and I wondered if she read them. However when she referred to them as "death notes" I knew that she had. This year she turns 25 and is a lovely young woman with whom I have a wonderful relationship. The aliens that took her brain as a teen finally did bring it back.
The oil and water role thing that goes on during those teen years is inevitable between mothers and daughters, all parents and teens for that matter. Then one day she asked for my advice and lo and behold my daughter was actually listening to what I had to say. They also grow a work ethic and a sense of responsibility. Where not even a stump of a tree had stood before suddenly an oak is growing healthy and strong. The storms are over and like a light bulb popping up over their heads, the sun is shining. You can actually have a conversation with them and the rapport is real and even somewhat satisfying. I knew in my heart she was there all along..hearing and absorbing if perhaps still staunchily unyeilding. It was really only a matter of time. Just like you and your mom..you and your daughter had to grow out of and into new roles. Its the reason moms know their daughters so well and how to protect them from themselves.