Time with my Teenage Daughter: Abduction or a Coffee Date?


I met up with a friend for lunch the other day and she asked, “So, what’s it like having a teenager?”.  My response…honestly, some moments it amazing, others it’s like living in the twilight zones, and then there was this experience….

I felt like I was Hellen Keller on the witness stand being cross-examined by the prosecutor! I thought I was clearly vocalizing my words, expressing what I saw, & hearing what she was saying….but her rebuttal was, you’re not listening, that’s not even what happened, & AND YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! How did we get here?! What happened to my daughter?! Let me backtrack.

So, it was Valentine’s Day morning and I was rushing my oldest to school per our usual, isn’t it exciting to see just how close we can cut it to school starting without being late routine. And moments before we left the house she broke down in tears. I asked, “What’s wrong” and she said, “Nothing”….and then we did that in rounds for a few minutes & got in the car. Finally, moments before rushing into school she told me she would tell me what was wrong later….fast forward to later, at home, in our kitchen. At this point I was sick of hearing myself ask the question, but I was genuinely concerned, so I went for it….she exclaimed that she didn’t want to tell me with her siblings all around and constantly eavesdropping. She has a valid point; they are like little spies just waiting to report back to headquarters, I mean mom/dad at the drop of any infraction. So I decided to remove her from the environment and then hopefully she’d talk.

It was finally happening, we were going to have one of those amazing mother/daughter bonding moments over coffee, like the Gilmore Girls! She would open up, spill everything, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry, and then get up at midnight to dance in the snow. Well, we did get in the car and headed for coffee, but it wasn’t exactly a Gilmore Girls kinda moment, more of an Unsolved Mysteries child abduction moment, you could practically hear Robert Stack narrating as I drove……”what started off as a warm, welcoming mother/daughter moment took a turn for the worst when her mother abducted her claiming they were just going for coffee!”.

She starred at me like any abducted child would, or at least what I would assume an abducted child would look like, this was my first time. She inquired, “why are you doing this?!”, as she put her headphones on. Did she suddenly catch amnesia somewhere between the front door and the car? “Um, hello, we are going to grab coffee and talk somewhere where the little spies, I mean your siblings, aren’t around, remember?” Radio silence….headphones?!  TAKE OFF THE HEADPHONES!! “Monica’s mom let’s her wear her headphones in the car”. “And I’m sure Monica’s mom let’s her jump off bridges too!…or something like that”. Clearly I was derailing! We arrived at the coffee shop & surprisingly unlike an abducted child who would sprint from the car she cemented her butt to the seat and refused to go in! What the hell?! “Don’t you want a coffee? I’ll even splurge for a fancy drink; get a Frappe Mocha Latte Ohh La La.”  Eye-roll, eye-roll, eye-roll…and looked the other way out the window.  Since when did a fancy coffee drink go from a “treat” status to torture?  “We are going IN! Even if we just sit and stare at each other! GET. OUT. OF. THE. CAR!”  And… at a snails speed she made her way out of the car and into the coffee house where she refused anything to eat or drink.  I ordered a tea and we sat. “So what was the deal this morning? Are you okay? Did something happen at school?” I asked in my kindest most caring voice. Nothing! “This morning you were crying, are you okay?” I warmly expressed as I leaned closer to her. And as if my body language could kill, she pushed her chair away from me and sat in disgust. I was half tempted to ask if she was waiting for her lawyer…she’s good. We sat in silence for 15 minutes then left. So much for our awesome mother/daughter bonding time!

Once in the car I tried my last attempt….”I know life is hard, you were crying this morning…sometimes we feel alone. You told me you were going to share its okay that you didn’t, but please know you’re not alone, I’m here”. She replied…”you’re not listening, that’s not even what happened, & AND YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!” And with that the flood gates opened. I tried everything to stop them! The rest of the way home I carefully watched my speedometer because if I did get pulled over by the cops I feared what would come out of this child’s mouth next.

As I walked inside the house, mascara running, and my son asked, “What’s wrong?” And I replied,   “Nothing”, as I wiped the tears away feeling totally depleted.

I feel like moms of teenage daughters should have a support group…whose with me?

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You're off to great places! But do keep in touch!

In the words of Dr. Seuss, You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go. And when you get there take us with you!

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