Oh lordy – the Princess had the mother of all meltdowns last night on the way home from the studio. I should have seen it coming. She had an insanely busy weekend, including a whole lot of dance, a slumber party with beach time and swimming, her brother’s birthday party, and not a whole lot of sleep. She doesn’t do well when there’s a lack of sleep. And, well, teenage girls…..they cry for no reason sometimes. Give them a little something to cry about, and it’s game on.
So we’re driving home, and she’s quiet, which isn’t new. But she’s looking out the window, and I can see her entire body is tensed up. I put my hand on her shoulder and asked what was wrong. The deluge began. When the crying stopped, her words came tumbling out, one complaint/stress/worry after another. I didn’t respond. I didn’t know how to respond. I don’t know she needed nor wanted a response. I just kept my hand on her shoulder, and let her cry it out. We got home, she showered, and got something to eat. I walked up to my now-taller-than-me daughter, hugged her, told her she’s beautiful, that sometimes things don’t make sense, but that it would look better in the morning, after food and rest. She was still a bit quiet this morning, but in a much better frame of mind.
This raising of teenagers thing is like a minefield. I’m trying desperately to get this right. Being a girl, I know that sometimes, the meltdown is about letting out what’s been building up. You don’t need anyone to explain every last thing you’re worried or whining about, you just need to get it out. You don’t need or want someone to fix any of it, you just need to cry and say the words. You don’t need to be chastised for feeling the way you do, you just need someone to hug you and tell you it’s going to be okay. Try to do more, and she will push you away. At least that’s what I remember from being a teenage girl, and what I know of who I am now.
Of course I still want to fix everything for her. It’s heartbreaking seeing your little girl cry her eyes out. It’s disconcerting to see your little girl cry her eyes out and then wipe away the mascara that’s run down her face because, well, she isn’t really a little girl anymore. I don’t want her to hurt, ever. But I know that last night wasn’t about real pain. It was about exhaustion, hunger, and the fabulous hormones teenage girls get to try and deal with.
I’m still trying to get this right, though, because I don’t want her to stop talking to me. And she needs a safe place to vent. If she gets what she needs in these emotionally-charged years, she will be better off as an adult. If I fix, justify, chastise, negate, or ignore, what is that telling her? We are in a new world and most of the time, I feel I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I’m sure I will screw something up at some point along the way. But I’ll keep trying to get this right, for her.