At the iblog 3 Summit, my daughter who was seated beside me whispered “mom, I’m beginning to like *blogger’s name*. He’s cute.”
Surprise! Surprise! Okay, I was surprised at two things :
1. Wow, she’s starting to confide again.
2. I didn’t realize *blogger’s name* is her type.
I turned towards the direction of my daughter’s affection and giggled at her ear “oh yes, I agree. he’s handsome but I didn’t know you liked him. He seems like a nice guy but..I don’t really know him that well. ”
“do you think he likes me?” she caught my wrist, motioning me to keep my voice down.
I shrugged “now why would I have that information? if *blogger’s name* liked you, why in the world would he ever tell me? I’d be the last person he’d confide to. ”
“He’s cute” she continues to gush.
***A few hours later***
She whined “Mom, I don’t think I have a chance with *blogger’s name* . I don’t think he likes me. He didn’t seem interested in a conversation”
“Don’t worry. Men can be clueless. Just be friends for now. Who knows what will happen?” I adviced her.
“Mom, I think he might be afraid of you”
“Now why would he be scared of me? If he has bad intentions, then he ‘d better be scared of me. I bite.”
I don’t blame her for thinking that way. Old feelings probably came rushing on to her.
I had the “NO BOYFRIEND TILL YOU ARE 18″ rule. My daughters knew of this rule since they turned 13. I think it stemmed from my own upbringing. My parents instilled the same rule. Butch warned me that Lauren will have boyfriends like his sisters did when they were in high school. I assured my husband “Don’t worry. They won’t have any boyfriends”. So I thought Lauren would be like me , immune to guys. Despite the rule, I allowed my daughters to attend parties, hangout at the mall or receive phone calls from guys. I felt I wasn’t too restrictive despite the rule.
One day, I found out that 14 year old Lauren already had a boyfriend after the mother of the boy called me up. She wanted parental supervision. I flatly refused.
Being a control-freak mother at that time “NO OFFENSE ON YOUR SON, LAUREN CAN’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND.” My voice sounded a notch higher than usual.
That whole summer, she was grounded.
I am sure she resented me for years. I was just so shocked that she had a boyfriend. Of course, the grounding didn’t mean they lost contact from each other. I am sure they still did. (I found out much later they were in contact for like 3 years)
A few years later, Lauren fell in love again. Still a control-freak mother, I confronted her and minced no words about my honest opinion of the guy. I have my reasons but I’d rather not mention it here. Mothers have instincts , you see. The problem with me was that my approach was old-school, manipulative and controlling. Now I know better. I should have just said my piece then let it go and allow her to make mistakes. But no, I told her she couldn’t see this guy. PERIOD.
That started the deterrioration of mother and daughter relationship. I realized my mistake a year after . We had a long and honest dialogue. After a teary talk, the end result was that I allowed her to be open with their relationship. I totally gave her the freedom.
Why did I change? I just did. Life is a Gentle Teacher. She wants to help us learn. I realized my girls are growing up fast and that my old behavior patterns were destructive to family harmony. The lessons I learned from my parents’ upbringing were not applicable in today’s fast growing technology. I also realized that control is an illusion especially the kind of control I was trying to exert on my daughter’s love life. Did it bring the results I wanted? No…they were still together after a year.
Inspite of my stringent rules, I have to give her credit for not eloping with her boyfriend (a friend’s daughter did just that and had a baby soon after).
I have never gotten the results I wanted from controlling or trying to control people. I guess at that time I was thinking “If I couldn’t control my son’s death..maybe I can control my daughter’s life” WRONG MOVE!
Funny thing was my daughter ended the relationship with this guy for the reason that I objected to in the first place. I allowed her to make mistakes. I could have said “I told you so” after my instincts proved right.
But because I allowed her to make this mistake, our mother-daughter relationship improved. Parents can’t protect their kids forever. The more we hold on to them, the more they rebel.
So I assure her “I’m not going to interfere with your love life . I trust you know what is best for you.”
Yes, I have learned to let go of my need to control. Letting go of our need to control can set us and others free. Today, I ask myself what would I be doing differently if I weren’t trying to control. Then I listen to the answer inside me with the help of God.
Lauren’s fears are unfounded. I am not going to interfere with any guy (blogger or not) who might want to “court” (is that still possible?) her. Oh and as to who she likes, go ask her yourself. I can’t betray her like that. *winks*