Sometimes I feel like I gave birth to my husband.
You might be thinking that I’m either 1) smoking crack 2) experiencing withdrawals from giving up ALL sweets for Lent or 3) going through a mid-life crisis.
Let me set the record straight. If I were to indulge in an illegal substance, it would definitely be something more ancient hipster like smoking opium or chewing coca leaves. And my mid-life crisis ended approximately twenty minutes before I started writing this blog post. Which means only #2 applies. Every time I gripe about giving up too much for Lent my 7-year old daughter says, “Mommy, isn’t God more important than a sugar high?” I’m so fortunate to have my own little walking and talking moral compass to remind me of how unworthy I am.
So, let me explain what I meant.
Margaret’s personality has an uncanny resemblance to that of my husband’s. Sure, they look (mildly) different being 33 years apart and different genders, but other than that, they act a lot alike. Especially when dealing with me.
Recently, my husband was trying to help me better decipher Margaret’s moodiness – not an easy task for me. Very easy for him. Why? Because she’s just like him. Mainly, they are linear thinkers and they use logic and reason to arrive at decisions. Whereas I have always been a slave to my emotions.
In addition, Margaret – like her father – has a pretty good poker face at 13. I’m hoping it doesn’t morph into Bitchy Resting Face (BRF) but it’s too soon to tell. With his help, I’m learning to control the urge to engage her when she’s in “poof be gone” mode and to drop everything humanly possible when she’s in “chatty Cathy” mode – because if I don’t, just like a tropical storm, the momentary mood passes as quickly as it comes and it could be a few days or even a week of monosyllabic responses before she utters a complete sentence again.
In military terms, I’m basically in a constant state of reconnaissance only she’s not the enemy, I’m a civilian, and we’re not on foreign soil. Any intelligence I gather about the current state of her mood has to be deftly executed without her knowledge. Sure, the stakes are low; there’s no threat of loss of life or limb. But make no mistake: it’s emotional warfare. And therefore, I have to use stealth tactics.
In our conversation, my husband pointed out that as adept at navigating his camouflaged moods as I am today, my learning curve with him was pretty steep. I stepped on my fair share of land mines. What’s scary is that he wasn’t going through puberty – and it still took me a few years to figure him out.
Here’s what I struggle with most. Margaret is my kid, not my life partner. Unlike her dad, she never made a vow before God to love, cherish, and honor me all the days of her life until death do us part. She didn’t sign up for a lifetime of Shana-palooza like my dear husband did. She can dump me like a bad habit once she turns 18, and never look back.
But if she does, I’ll be watching.
Every move she makes.
Thank goodness for social media.