This I Believe

Lisa - Scottsdale, Arizona
Entered on May 4, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Believe It Or Not

I didn’t believe my mom when she told me that someday we will all turn into our parents.

Now I do.

I swore it would never happen to me. I tried to take only my mother’s positive, creative, spontaneous, life-of-the-party qualities and leave behind the self-obsessed, neurotic, drive me crazy, ignore every word I say parts, but as I open my mouth the nagging words that come out are not mine, they’re hers. I saw it for sure the other day in my daughter’s face. I didn’t think it was too much to ask when I shouted, “Be home early and don’t forget to call me right when you get there,” but Shana rolled her eyes, and suddenly I saw my own teenage face, heard my own teenage voice saying, “God, Mom, I’m sixteen, don’t you get it?”

I realize now, though, where I went wrong. We’ve only got one more year before she goes off to college, so I guess I’ve been pushing a little too hard lately, getting a little sloppy.

It’s almost impossible to back off when I know she’s on the verge of something major – prom, boys, driving, graduation, college, job. I can’t miss any of that, right? What if I forget to tell her something? Still, I was shocked when I looked at her face – my face – and saw that I was no longer the cool mom. I had become the weird, embarrassing, old mom.

I was on top of this mother-daughter thing with Shana, our one and only. I thought that we would be different, that I would always be the perfect mom in her eyes. And it’s true, we’re close. We talk all the time. My expectations for her have been high and she’s exceeded them all – sweet kid, good grades, great friends – some of them even call me mom, too. She’s just like I was at her age, right before my mom started annoying me all the time.

Shana may think I’m obnoxious now, but it will all make sense to her one day. It wasn’t so long ago that she thought it was totally normal for a grown woman to pounce on her bed every morning and tickle her. These days I have to ignore her grumpy pleas for me to stop and do it anyway. Oh well. Next year she’ll be in some tiny dorm room bed and she’ll miss my version of an alarm clock, and me, too. I’m sure of it.

Back when Shana was born, I oohed and aahed over every little adorable baby thing she did. The problem is I never got over it. She’s cute. She’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, my favorite person in the world, and, at sixteen, she still amazes me. I’m sure that my constant cheering her on like a lunatic must be annoying to the poor kid, but I can’t help it. It runs in the family.