Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Missing Child

I'm winning, but if Sue gets her internet access back before the 11th, I'm in trouble. She'll order her hordes of faithful readers over there to vote for her, and my lead will melt away faster than a snowball in heck. Because Sue, you know, does have that sort of evil power over her blog-reading minions. So don't stop voting! 3 more days!

Anna's been sick. Double outer-ear infection. Doctor gave her drops last night, but then she took a turn for the worse. Woke me up at 5:30 AM. Called me sobbing at the pool this afternoon, in utter pain, feverish, etc. Larry left work early to take her to urgent care. Got numbing drops, more meds, etc. And as soon as that pain (which I do realize is excruciating) stopped, whaddaya think...?

"Aren't you driving me to ensemble practice tonight?"

"Um, 2 hours ago, you were writhing in pain. You have a fever. You are, in fact, very sick. We're not."

Here, my friends, is where words fail even me. Fellow sufferers of ungrateful teen daughters, however, will be able to picture the Look she gave us. You know, the look that makes a parent wonder whether he/she merely imagined all that transpired over the past few hours, because his/her daughter apparently has no recollection of it. The "what is your problem, what's the big deal, I feel fine" look...

A look, in fact, that goads me to say, "Did you thank your father for taking you to the doctor?"

Another "what's the big deal?" look. Then, "Noooo...." in that slow, drawn-out, "why are you asking me that?" tone that most teens have polished to perfection.

I can't resist. For some reason, I need some confirmation that what we had all just experienced was real. I need to try to connect with the girl that I want to believe is still in there, the one I had a glimpse of this afternoon when she was in pain and needed us. "Because, remember? Your ears really hurt, you were crying, and Daddy came home early just to help you?"

That question earned me the coup de grace, the Look that says, "So?"

Yeah, I was asking for that one.

Okay, I give up. The medications are there on the counter, so it must have happened; but today, for me, was just a cruel tease. Anna has gone away again, to wherever it is all loving girls go when they turn 13.

You know, I was a teenage girl once. And I do remember that "I don't need you, I'm not a little girl anymore" feeling. In fact, I even recall the "I can't believe I'm related to you people, it disgusts me that I still require your assistance at times" attitude. But, as a parent, I also have fond memories of a sweet young lady that liked to talk to me, a girl who didn't look disappointed every time she walked into a room and saw me there. I remember a girl for whom each day was a present waiting to be opened, for whom each hour there was a reason to laugh.

Hey, Anna, we miss your love. We miss your sunniness. We miss everything.

We miss you.


  1. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    It's all still there. I know it is; I've seen it. Some day she'll get tired of maintaining that teenage funk in front of you all and she'll be back. In the meantime, there's always chocolate.

  2. We do see glimses here and there. But I just bought RR brand new very expensive running shoes...because they allow you to bring your own to basic training, or just wear the ones issued, and we know from X-country he runs best with a particular brand that keeps his knees from hurting....did he says "Thanks Mom" did he say, "I appreciate it" no...nothing. Just put them on and said "these feel good"

    un huh....they should.

    But we will make it though. And when our first grandchildren are born, lets sit together, have toast, raise our glasses and smile at each other in a knowing way.

  3. Been there, done that, have the stretch marks. And the scars. Firstborn turns 30 later this month. I am *now* glad that I didn't pinch her head off when she was 15.

    My mother invoked the mothers' curse upon me when I was that age. I don't have one just like me. I have *three*. [Of the five.]

    Chocolate is best. Lamaze breathing also helps. (((Hugs))) from Texas.

  4. As a mother on the other side of 13, it gets better!! Hang in there!

  5. I have an almost 13-year old, so I'm sweating it completely. I do, however, remember being very Anna-ish myself. If I could have literally shot daggers from my eyes, I would have. It got worse, though, and by the time I was 15 my mother agreed that I ought to go live with another family so she wouldn't kill me (and vice versa). So I lived with some cousins for a year and the spell was broken. I returned a much nicer 16 year old with not as much to prove. Still petulant but only at times. That doesn't sound hopeful, but by the time I graduated from high school I got along pretty well with my parents. Only four more years for you!

  6. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    Our older one is almost 10 and we're starting to see some of the teenage moodiness already. I'm not looking forward to it at all.

  7. Wow--not looking forward to the teenage years.

  8. Are you TRYING to terrify me? The minute my first daughter was born I looked into her eyes and thought, "I don't WANT you to hate me in thirteen years! Why does it have to be so?" Is there some way to trick the teenage gods and avoid this? I'm looking into it. I'll let you know in a few years.

  9. Oh that totally sucks. I'm so sorry. Keep the faith.
    Going to go vote for you now.

  10. My 7-year old niece started acting like this at 2. That's not a good sign is it?

    I'll warn her mother.

    Hang in there.

    She's come back.

  11. I'm even more committed than ever that we need a national teen-daughter swap program. Like Foreign Exchange. Because their real selves do come out, in the presence of other families. (I'm gearing up for mine to return from camp tonight...)

  12. Oh honey, you KNOW I feel your pain. But they DO grow out of it. The fact that mine are still alive is proof!

  13. ahhhh, my mother and especially, my father, could totally relate to what you wrote when I hit 13.

  14. I remember the sweet angel my teenager once was. Now my 2-yr-old is in training with my teenager. I won't have any memories of her being sweet except when she was a newborn.

    Nacho: Clarissa, will you rub daddy's back?

    Clarissa: Uh . . . no. (No is said in a rather drawn out sing-song way that states "it is so obvious that I will never ever give you a back rub.)

  15. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    Ahhh...this post made me cry. Maybe you could write her a letter and let her know how you feel...Hope things get better soon.

  16. I like Kalynne's idea. You two work on that so that in 6 years I can sign my daughter up for the program. Pleeease?

    Except I would miss her.

  17. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    I KNOW exactly what you are going through. I have a 21 yr. old still at home that is still the same way sometimes. So moody. Margie

  18. Sweet girl is still there. This too shall pass. And then you'll write about it and give all of us with pre-teens hope.

  19. Yup. I am so not looking forward to having 3 teenagers. ;)

  20. I totally feel your pain. Especially the part where they walk into a room and they're disappointed to see you. Oh, they come back though, and you're so proud of them when they do!

    There was a reason why people used to send kids away to boarding school until they were 18 or so.

  21. I'm going to have to stop reading you, because you're making me even more apprehensive about having a girl. I figure she'll start to hate me right about the time I'm getting menopausal, and my husband and boys will just want to move out of the house for a while. I'm hoping it doesn't have to be that way.

    I remember, in high school, asking my mother why she was always so unhappy with me. I told her, I didn't drink, didn't smoke, had promised not to have sex in high school (and I didn't), didn't steal money from her purse, got really good grades...why was she always on my case? Why so unhappy with me all the time? She had no answer for me. I'm still curious what exactly about me disappointed her so much.

    Just saying--there's always two sides to every story. What's Anna's? Would she tell someone who wasn't you, maybe?

  22. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    I remember being in that stage. Good luck. Fabulous blog, by the way.

  23. ACK, this made me cry. I'm so afraid that one day my sweet daughters are going to turn on me. They're 16 months apart. I can't wait until they're 14 and 15, really. It's going to be FABULOUS. And it would serve me right, because I was HORRIBLE to my mother as a teen. Awful. It took us years to get over how I acted at 15. It's only in the last five years that we've finally good friends again.

    Oh, wait. That probably isn't comforting, is it. I'll shut up now.

    Thanks for all of the linkage and for letting me know about the contest. You're so FAIR and stuff. You're still winning though.

  24. Dang, You've got me all teary over this one.

    I'm off to the cryogenesist to freeze my children.


  25. Yeah. She'll figure it out in college when that ear is hurting like mad but no mom or dad to take care of you. Until then, good luck.

    I'm really quite dreading my life 3.5 years from now. Teenagers. I'll be a real parent then!

  26. OH I so feel your pain. One second you are the HERO because you 1) found the perfect outfit or 2) dropping everything to get said child to said event or 3) totally spoiled them in some way or another and the next second - the next SECOND you are nothing, nada, zip zilch and your sacrifice? What sacrifice? Am I not the queen of the world?? sheesh.

  27. That was a beautiful post. She'll be back but the interim sounds painful.

  28. Yes, it's still there. Of course it is. This was lovely.

  29. Started out funny and then turned, kinda sad.

  30. Oh, this was hard to read.

  31. AnonymousJuly 10, 2008

    That Look....I'm getting to know it well!

  32. I was a teenager once too, but I don't think I was that bad. So I don't deserve what I know is coming my way. My daughter is not even four, and I already see glimpses of teenage behavior in her. Sigh...