Having a 13 year old daughter is my greatest joy. It is also my greatest heartache on any given day. Maybe because even though I am pushing fifty years old, I can still vividly remember the nauseating angst of middle school. And if I think about it too long, I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I’ve been lucky with Tricia. She has suffered much less than many other kids at the hands of a bullying classmate. But I am mystified that when it does happen, it is often at the hands of someone who purports themselves to be her friend. Why is it girls are so cruel to each other? Jealousy? Insecurity? Ignorance? A ridiculous need to insert themselves into a situation all for the sake of creating drama? Probably all of the above in some form or another. I’m not sure where these girls have learned such unspeakable meanness. I know I have worked tirelessly to make sure Tricia understands the meaning of compassion, and indeed she is one of the kindest, most compassionate kids I know, sometimes to a fault. That being said, I have also tried to make her understand that being a doormat is not an option, and that as long as she is doing the right thing, standing up for herself is really really important. And she does, much better than I ever did when I was her age. Hell, I’m pretty sure I had doormat tattooed on my forehead until about 40.
But today…today was one of those days when I could have put her friend “Dory” through a wall. She took what was a vulnerable issue with Tricia and viciously turned it on her. Really? And she did it over text messages and the phone? Apparently Dory is a gutless wonder on top of being a drama-filled insecure bitch. Tricia was hurt, really hurt, and all because this pain in the ass of a 13 year old girl was too uncaring or too stupid to know when to shut the hell up. I gave Tricia the “ignore her” speech. I told her that this person was not a friend. But it seemed no matter what I said, the situation still cut like a knife in my daughter’s mind. Have you ever wanted to grab that other kid by her long freaking blonde hair and scream “You’re such a BITCH!” to her? Yeah, that’s where I was today.
I wish, for one hot minute, Tricia could see the girl I see…beautiful, intelligent, giving, with an acerbic wit and a sharp tongue when she wants to make her point. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think to myself how lucky I am to have such an incredible daughter, in spite of myself. I know I’m never going to get that coveted “Mother of the Year” award. In fact, I am constantly amazed she hasn’t landed in therapy by now. But every day, she becomes more and more of a fabulous young woman, and every day I thank God for giving her to me.
I’ve told her often, these days will pass and in twenty years you won’t even remember this little tyrant’s name. And for the most part that is true. It’s such a blessing when we all come into our own and finally realize that the ONLY opinion that matters is our own, and to those who don’t like us, well they can just fuck off. She’ll get there, probably sooner than most kids. But until then, all I can do is hug her tight and remind her that she is nothing less than wonderful. It comes along with being my daughter.