A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Monday, 27 July 2015

No Matter What...

Parenting, teens, no matter whatThe weather was horrid yesterday and so we abandoned our original plans to visit Blenheim Palace and walked into town for breakfast and a paper instead. On the way, I stopped off at Sophia's former rowing club with a batch of cakes for the crew to share and then stood in the rain to watch practise. This took me back to umpteen mornings watching Sophia row in all kinds of weather, and made me realize just how much I miss the little things about life with my daughters. Things I didn't think I loved at the time.

As we arrived at the cafe, rain had set in for the day. We'd just ordered our food, when a dad wandered in with his own teen daughter. Both dad and daughter were soaked through. The girl reminded me of my daughters and of the many times when a parent just can't seem to diffuse the mood and every word uttered serves only to infuriate them even more. I guess there are no words for these moments; it doesn't mean that we don't try.

'Do you want something to eat?' her dad asked, thinking maybe that sustenance might improve his daughter's mood.

'No,'she replied.

'Are you sure?' he added, hoping that she would change her mind after asking for the second time. This infuriated her even more.

She sat sulking in the corner and was eventually cajoled into ordering hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows, while her dad ordered an Americano coffee and a full-English. The girl continued to mope as her dad pulled out all the stops and tried to cheer her up. Once breakfast arrived, he fed her scrambled egg and bacon. She finally cracked a smile and started to talk to him.

I've lost count of the number of times I've attempted similar feats with my own children. I was never convinced that this was the best course of action, but seeing my daughters unhappy always tugged at my emotions and awakened a need to make everything better. Foolish, I know.

And someday they all have to figure this out for themselves, but when they're caught somewhere between adult and childhood, it's important to remind yourself that you're the grown-up, while they're still in training. They will get there in the end and turn out to be remarkable young adults.

I miss my daughters more than they'll ever know and the house feels empty with the two of them away for the summer. Later this week I plan on borrowing my twelve year-old nephew and taking him out for the day. He turns thirteen soon and I smile as I watch my sister interact with her son. It's not easy being the parent of a teen. There are days when it feels like nothing's going as it should and you feel like throwing in the towel and helping yourself to a lunchtime G&T. But what's important is going to watch practise in the rain, being there for your child no matter what, and realizing that these are the most important things of all.

I'd wondered why my sister was thinking of getting a dog; the quote from Nora Ephron that I found to accompany the post answers that question really rather well.         

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton


  1. When I came to the bottom of your wonderful post on teens and parenthood and then reread the quote...just brilliant summary!

  2. lol i have a dog and the teen is home to visit, i've seen more of the dog

  3. Knowing what I was like as a teen, I'm already preparing myself for the difficulties I'll face in 10 years time but I hope I'll be able to put myself in her shoes - who knows. This patent thing is one long journey. Hope your two are back soon! Enjoy this time on your own xx #pocolo

  4. Izzie - I'm a couple of years away from having a teenager but I'm already sensing that it will be a challenging time... Thanks for the positive words of wisdom. I really enjoyed this post. #PoCoLo

  5. I too really liked this post. It was beautifully written and you could feel the emotion in the words. My children are still really young but even when they are away for a few days, the house feels empty somehow so I can empathize. #PoCoLo


  6. I am thinking of my parents now. I think its time to call my Mom. This is such a lovely read. You have woken up some sleeping emotions inside of me. #pocolo

  7. As brilliant a piece of writing as ever from you Izzie - I did the same as Kriss with the quote :) It sounds like the dad of that young girl has got it just right. I hope you have a wonderful time with your nephew. Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo x

  8. HI Izzie, I have just stumbled across your blog. I really like your writing style. It is honest and wise. It must be really tough being without your daughters when they have taken up your whole life for the last couple of decades. It must feel like a gaping void. At least you know that you have created two wonderful women and are unleashing them into the world to really make a difference. You should be proud - I have no doubt that you are. I certainly would be. x

  9. I was completely thrown by how hard it was when my daughter left for university. It took me months to realise that all that work, all those questions and "are you sure's?" and finding humour to make a link when you're feeling desperate, all that hard hard work of maintaining a connection was all in aid of her living a life of her own. Which she's doing beautifully. Still, I'd say the unravelling of ties when she left was the hardest part of parenthood for me (so far!).
    Lovely post, thank you.

  10. I love that quote and it is so true. Someone once told me that during the teen years, it is like someone has turned the light off for a while and everything becomes dark and unknown for a while. Once they come out of it though, the light goes back on and they are back, more grown up and better than ever. I am lucky, my teen is through the light off years and I remember constantly asking him if he was ok and some days it seemed like the bad moods would stay forever, but they didn't.

  11. The quote is so true. Maybe we should think about dogs rather than gerbils ...! Lovely post. #pocolo


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