How do you tell your teenage daughter you love her?
To My Daughter
How do I tell you I love you? Do I say it in words? Do I show it in actions? Do I demonstrate it by my behaviour? When you were very small, it was unquestionably, unilaterally all 3. I probably told you at least a million times a day how much I loved you. I'd pick you up, toss you up and down and shower you with kisses. When you were playing, I'd watch you benevolently and an interruption from you when I was working was never a disturbance. In fact, it was a welcome escape! If I spoke about you to friends and family, whether you were in the room or not, you were always spoken of with pride. You were my everything and you could do no wrong. How did I tell you I loved you? In every way possible. By protecting you, keeping you warm and safe with a full tummy and pretty clothes (Not always the best hair but a mom has to do what a mom has to do!)
Then you got older
Your needs changed. I could still say "I love you" a million times a day. I couldn't toss you up in the air any more but there was still plenty of room on my lap. Your world began to expand. That expansion brought with it different needs. Needs that I had to work harder to address. That expansion gave you ideas. Ideas that were no longer only my ideas. All of a sudden I had to deal with 2 very big things: The loss of my "mini-me" and the bruise to my ego! I was no longer your world. I was in many ways, still the center of your world but it was only the center WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. The hardest part for me was that you were still MY world. Everything else took back seat. It made it harder for me to reconcile the girl growing up before my very eyes with the baby girl I held in my arms. So I tried to demonstrate it by bringing and doing the things you loved. It was a kitten, favourite food, clothes. That worked sometimes but you still grew up and grew away. Like you were supposed to. It was hard, but I understood! And I learned. I learned how to be myself and not only your mother.
I grew up
I began to make a life for myself. Work and friends had more time from me. My social life grew. My baby continued to grow into a beautiful young woman.Oh, how I loved you and admired you. I still wanted to tell you about a million times a day. I could still hug and kiss you and you know you will never be too big to sit on my lap! But I know I didn't always demonstrate it. I became frustrated with you. I would be on the phone or writing, You would come in to talk and I would rush you along or roll my eyes. I did love you. I just had less time. When did that happen? How did we remain so close yet grow so far apart? When did you realize that I wasn't always right and decide to find answers on your own?
"A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
– Agatha Christie
How do I tell you I love you? I still think it about you a million times a day. I still talk about you with pride to family and friends. I talk to you. I listen to you. I respect you. I write about you...a lot! I sometimes still roll my eyes (I'm trying!) and I often don't agree with you but my arms and lap will always be open for you. I will always be your crying shoulder. I love you.
One of the best gifts you ever gave me was this song:
And now my beautiful baby is going to be a mother, too. Words cannot express the joy and excitement I feel. I am thrilled beyond thrilled for you and, selfishly, for me too! How do I tell you I love you? By hoping that your child gives you even half the pleasure that you have given me! How do I tell you I love you? I just say it. I love you!