A letter to my teenage daughter

A letter to my teenage daughter

By Kim Delmar Cory

Published in the Daily Press & Argus early 2000's

    When you were a toddler, bouncing golden spiral curls and dimples deluxe, you pointed to yourself and haughtily announced your version of your name to all, as a queen awaiting adoration from her unworthy subjects:

    "I Nahma!"

    Your own woman at two.

    I love you more than the moon, the stars, and chocolate candy bars.

    You needed me then. To rock you to sleep after a busy day of defiance and dolls. To sing a lullaby. To make sure that Sam, your precious pink bunny was tight within your chubby grasp by bedtime, retrieved from wherever she had ‘hidden’ that day. 

    But today I’m not allowed to rock you or (God forbid) sing to you. Today we push each other’s buttons. Rattle each other’s chains. 


    You hate it when I act ‘so immature’ prancing about the living room to a favorite tune, teasing your friends, or playing roller hockey with your younger brother in the driveway. You’re embarrassed. 

    I hate it when you act so grown up, refusing my help with your Juliet scene (I know it by heart!) , receiving phone calls from ten different boys (so it seems) in one evening, insisting that I’m ‘so overprotective’ because I make you call me when you arrive at a friend’s house late at night.

    On the days when our buttons are ‘stuck’, buzzing loudly, triggering mutual animosity and impatience; when only three days after washing all the laundry, I’m forced to pluck one of ten damp towels from your bedroom floor for my shower; when you flunk art class because you misread it as ‘social hour’ on  your schedule; when my only hope of deciphering your spewing speech is to garner all my word wiles, interpreting nouns via inflection; when I scrape together enough money to buy a special sweater you couldn’t live without only to see it a week later on your best friend’s back:

    I remember.

    Brush my hair, Mommy.

    At bedtime my brush would glide rhythmically down your thick Rapunzel locks and we would make up stories about a naughty little girl we named Lisa who seemed to always be in trouble. As you fell asleep on the pillow next to me, exhaling dainty puffs that might wish a dandelion bare, I would watch you sleep. Just watch you.

    I love you more than the moon, the stars, and chocolate candy bars.

    You don’t think you need me like you did when you were a little girl. Striving towards independence at all cost, you experience melancholia and euphoria within a wink’s time; confusion and frustration staples of your day.

    What you don't understand is that I understand.

    I understand when you get into one of your crazy, wild moods, unmercifully teasing your brother, deciding to bake a cake (never cleaning the kitchen after).

    I understand when your heart aches because you had a fight with your best friend and you don’t know how to face her at school tomorrow.

    I understand. Because you are some of who I was and I am some of who you will become. Mother and daughter. Infinitely yoked at the heart with impenetrable, enigmatic bonds most likely comprised of fingernail glue, rope ankle bracelets and a string of pearls. 

    But you, Amanda, are you.

    Someone I admire and respect. And love unconditionally.

    I watch you with those less fortunate, observing your patience and the sincerity of your compassion. 

    When you play sports, I witness your lioness heart, tenacious and proud. I watch as you carry yourself with a queenly confidence, displaying a triumvirate of elegance, grace and strength in your gymnastics routines.
    And I picture you wearing your first lace collared, flower –patterned dress that you would roll your eyes at (how back into your head CAN they go?) today. You’ve moved on to jeans, blue fingernail polish and plenty of vanilla-scented perfume.

    I see myself in you. And I wonder how I can help you maneuver the unforeseen ‘bumps’ in your road ahead. But I can’t. You will have to drive yourself, learning to check the gauges along the way, understanding how to signal for help when necessary. Ultimately, pulling yourself up from some dark desperate holes you will fall into on your journeys.

    I love you more than the moon, the stars, and chocolate candy bars.

    I’ll just park myself close by. Where I’ll always be.

    Whether you need me or not.

    Love, Mom