I received a couple of comments on this post from a couple of days ago expressing worry that I am not being fair to my Anna. Ilana, in particular, worries that I am cultivating such a wall of resentment against my daughter that, even when/if she should attempt to reconcile with us (as she matures), I will not be able to meet her halfway.
Apparently, Ilana never read this post. That experience taught me that - hard as it is for my present-day self to believe - when/if Anna returns as a delightful young woman, I will welcome her with open arms. And I qualify that statement with an "if" only because I know women who, although they did mature into fine adults, never really wanted to reconnect with their parents. It happens, folks - so I am a trifle guarded in my expectations.
Truly, I empathize with Anna (but I don't tell her that, because she loathes hearing it). I remember feeling the way she does, wanting to be grown-up and independent and in control of my own life and not being able to, mostly because I was only 15 or 16 and - quite frankly - sort of an idiot, life-skills-wise. I can see my middle-aged self through her eyes and feel repulsed. Is it any wonder I don't mind sending her away for almost a month? I can't stand myself when she's around.
I would hope that it would be clear to most of my readers that in 99 percent of these posts, the joke is on myself (or Larry - sorry, honey). Even in the aforementioned post (where I comment on Anna's toilet-cleaning non-proclivities and the oddness of her giving me a hug), the point is not to criticize Anna - a girl who is, after all, not behaving outside the norm of teenage girldom (that is, if my commenters are any gauge - thank you, ladies).
Rather, the point is to highlight and make fun of how disoriented and discombobulated parents - when subject to this typical teen behavior - can become. In the case of that particular post, the joke was that a teen girl's parents (that would be Larry and I) are often too shell-shocked to accept a simple hug - we are too conditioned to look for the trick behind it. (And don't you love how explaining a joke totally kills it?)
Anna has full access to this blog. She doesn't see the humor in it, of course. She's annoyed by it sometimes. But I persist in talking about her because someday Anna will be a grown-up herself with (God willing) children of her own. By the time they are teenagers, I may no longer be around. (As in, dead - or senile.) It is my fond hope that one of those nights when Anna's teen daughter has shot her the death glare and evinced utter disgust at her mere presence - one of those nights, in short, when her darling progeny has made her feel as hurt and vulnerable as a mother can feel - it is my hope that Anna thinks to peruse these pages.
Dear grown-up Anna, if you are reading these words years from now, you are probably mature enough to be aware that I always loved you (even when you couldn't stand to hear it). I might not have liked you at some points; but with a teen daughter of your own, you can understand that now. I wrote these posts to survive by finding some humor in what was (for me) a dark and hurtful situation. Perhaps you can use them to the same purpose.
Just don't stay up too late reading, sweetheart; and for heaven's sake, make sure the dishes are done before you sit down at the computer. Or, better yet, make your daughter do them. She hates you already, anyway.