By Kari Diane Pike
My first clue that it was going to be a long night should have been the argument over the hair ties. Who would believe that a twelve and a very nearly fifteen-year- old could feud over a hair tie for more than two hours? I eventually took matters into my own hands. Later, both of the girls glowered at me when we got in the van to attend a Family Home Evening with another family in the ward, but at least they’d stopped bickering. I knew that once we arrived at our destination, the fun and friends would lighten their countenance and peace would once again prevail in the land. It’s tough to be a mom.
The next clue should have been seeing the fifteen-year-old walk away from the fun and games and sit in on the adult women discussions of childbirth, the high cost of milk, and the evils of video games. When I asked her why she wasn’t playing, she gave me that open-mouthed, wide-eyed, throwing-arms-out gesture that says with out words, “DUH!”
“Mom! Micaela is acting like a jerk. I’m staying away from her so that I won’t do or say anything inappropriate. Grrrrr…she is making me so mad!”
The other ladies and I tried to lighten her mood and find ways to include Brittany in our conversations. She expressed her opinions and joined in our laughter, but she asked what time it was about every ten minutes. When it was time to go home, she was the first one in the van. It’s tough to be fifteen.
The moment we walked into the house, Brittany grabbed up the phone, dialed her BFF (Best Female Friend) as she stomped up the stairs, and firmly shut the bedroom door behind her. A few minutes later, she came back down the stairs and asked,
“Mom, can I go to Bre’s house for a little while? Please?”
“No. It’s almost 9:00 o’clock. It’s a school night. Why are you even asking this?” I forgot I was speaking to a fifteen-year-old hormonal female. It’s tough to be a mom.
“Mom, because I don’t want to be here right now. I’m just need to talk to someone. And I’d rather be there than here.” Evidently, being fifteen is tougher than I remember.
“I’m sorry. It is a school night and you need to be at home. You can talk to me.”
Brittany rolled her eyes as she let out a heavy sigh, turned her back to me, her attention to the phone, and stomped back up the stairs to her room. The door shut with a little more force this time. I squared my shoulders and patted myself on the back for sticking to my guns and not showing how tough it is to be a mom.
A few minutes later, Brittany bounded down the stairs, still holding the phone to her ear.
“Mom! Bre says she can come to Seminary with me tomorrow. She says that if I can stay the night at her house tonight, her mom will drive us in the morning.”
I have to give her credit. The kid is good. She knows that if anything is going to get me, it’s the opportunity to share the gospel and further the missionary effort. But as tough as it is to be a mom…it’s even tougher to be fifteen.
“I’m sorry Brittany, but you know we don’t do sleepovers on school nights. We can pick Bre up in the morning. It’s time to get off the phone, get ready for family prayer, and finish your homework.”
This time Brittany’s bedroom door slammed; only to be flung open seconds later as she hurled insults and accusations at anyone who crossed her path, but directed specifically at her cold, cruel parents. At our invitation, she plopped onto our bed and declared,
“I don’t want to talk to you because I know we will just fight and I have a huge headache and all this homework to do and if you had just let me go to Bre’s house, it would all be done and I wouldn’t have the headache and I would be getting a good night’s sleep.”
I asked, “So what you’re saying is that it’s our fault your homework isn’t finished and it’s our fault that you cried so much you have a headache?”
“I didn’t say that. I just said that if you had let me go when I asked, I wouldn’t have been upset and things would have gotten done and I wouldn’t have this headache.”
“Well, I guess you should go take an ibuprofen and get to work on your homework.”
There’s more to the story; like me finally losing it and grounding her from everything. (I told you it’s tough being a mom.) In the end, I went to her room awhile after her lights turned out. I looked at my daughter curled up in her quilt with the stuffed dog she’s had since she was a toddler; a pair of nylons draped across the end of the white iron daybed. A Super Man poster reflected red, yellow and blue from the light in the hallway. I gazed at her face, noticing that the little girl freckles across the bridge of her nose are fading with her blossoming. I wanted to reach out and brush her side bangs from her eyes, but I didn’t want to wake her. I prayed in my heart that this woman-child would feel and know how much she is loved and cared for. I heard a soft sniffle. I touched her hair with my fingertips.
“I love you, Brittany,” I whispered.
“I love you, too, Mom.”
Being a mom is a miracle.