My baby girl turned 14 on Sunday. I'm not sure how that squalling little baby girl is now suddenly a Freshman in high school, but there it is.
This child is my mini-me, not just in looks but in personality. I always worried that it would make it difficult to be her mother. It's usually volatile when you are so much alike. But I have found that it's actually made it easier. I can usually figure out what makes her tick, and when she needs to be pushed and when we need to just let her be. It is eerie to hear my own teenage voice coming out of her mouth occasionally, but at the same time it's comforting.
This daughter has taught me so much about myself. Most importantly, she's taught me to love myself, in a way I never could when I was a teenager. She is confident in herself, and has no problem expressing herself or her creativity. I was always afraid of being made fun of, and kept so much of myself hidden. I'm not saying she doesn't have moments of self-doubt, or that there aren't things about herself that she wishes she could change. She wouldn't be human if that was the case. But she knows who she is and stays true to herself.
My main goal as a parent was to be sure that my children knew that they were loved, no matter what. I wanted them to know affection, and that they could tell me anything. I worried as we moved into the teenage years that this might be compromised, but I'm happy that my girl wants to hug her mama regularly, and isn't afraid to come talk to me about the hard situations. I'm not bragging, or saying I'm doing a perfect job. I'm saying that I'm doing the best job I can, and I'm confident that I'm giving my kids the best of me most of the time.
I am thankful every day for the opportunity to be her mother. And I've learned to be thankful that I am the person that I am.