You were a big ‘meanie’ as I recall. It was right around my 14th birthday.  All my friends were spending Saturday at the mall and then going to Gina’s for a sleepover. Just because her parents would be out to dinner and her older sister would be chaperoning for a period of time, you, Queen of Mean, said “No!”

I remember a temper tantrum with lots of deep-lung screaming that it wasn’t fair and that all the other kids were allowed to go.

Everyone other than me that is.

When I added feet stamping to the mix you accused me of not being ‘lady-like.’

I grabbed my mascara and my favorite pair of jeans and told you I was running away from home if you did not let me go to the sleepover. How you handled the throwing down of the gauntlet left a lifelong imprint.

You told me that as long as I lived under your roof I would have to abide by your rules. I walked out the front door. I made it 3 blocks. I kept looking over my shoulder sure that you would be chasing me down any minute now. It was beginning to get dark outside. Without a doubt you’d be here any minute now. It started to drizzle. You would come with (at minimum) your umbrella and knowing you my rain boots too any minute now.

I glumly returned through the back porch door.

There was no mention whatsoever of my teenage rebellion. You reminded me that dinner would be on the table in 15 minutes and asked that I take out utensils and napkins.

I went to my room instead.

I had chosen to ignore you. Since you obviously didn’t care about my feelings I wasn’t going to care one iota about yours.

I heard you call the family to dinner. I firmly held my ground under my bedroom pillow and sham. I smelled your meatloaf and mac and cheese with bread-crumb topping. I forced myself to come down because you instilled in us kids that food should never be wasted.

I suspect I convinced myself that I was helping out the cause.

You were smack in the middle of your obnoxious ‘share your day with the family’ questions. I chewed in silence. Dad announced that he was taking the family to Carvel. I wasn’t going to give up a ‘Flying Saucer’ even if you were joining us too.

We remained locked in constant battle for years to come. It was my will versus yours.

You never budged and you never relinquished control. Most importantly you never stopped letting me know that you loved me.

I was a handful.

You forged ahead despite every obstacle I placed in your way. I have clarity now and hopefully an ounce or two of your enormous wisdom. When I look back it is with abundant gratitude for all the hard work you put in to me.

It really did pay off.

Then again you knew all along that it would.

Lisa Leshaw

Lisa Leshaw has worked as a mental health professional for the past 31 years. She currently conducts Parenting Skills Workshops, Group Counseling for Blended Families and Empowerment Circles for Women. As a consultant, Lisa travels throughout teaching Communication and Listening Skills, Behavioral Management Techniques and Motivational Strategies. To de-stress she performs in children's theatre and plays piano whenever requested. She is hoping to either write the next memorable musical composition or Great American Novel!