The shift was slow and subtle.
First, you pulled away slightly as I put my arm around you walking out of the grocery store. Next, the door to your bedroom started clicking softly shut each time you walked into it. Then, you wanted to go to a friend’s house more often than asking me to play a game or watch a movie or share a cup of hot chocolate.
I know this behavior is to be expected. I know this is part of the growing-up process, but it is hard not to lament over the days when I was the center of your universe. It was just a minute ago that you were a little girl clinging to the side of my pants whenever I dropped you off, and your favorite activity was walking around my closet in my favorite pair of black patent-leather stilettos.
Now, those shoes are too small for your size nine feet and your hair and makeup skills have outpaced mine. You don’t need me to pick out your clothes or help you get the cereal off the top shelf or cut the crusts off your PB&J. You no longer hold my hand in parking lots or show up at my bedside early in the morning.
And a piece of my heart breaks off each time you pull away.
Sometimes you are so desperate for independence it is hard not to grab your arm to hold on for just one more second. It is the way you admonish me for tucking a piece of hair behind your ear or the deep sigh you exhale in response to a simple question about high school.
Sometimes you are intentionally cruel and strike right for my jugular. It’s a cutting comment about how dinner was not to your liking or an eye roll when I try to make a joke in front of your friends.
But mostly, watching you grow into your beautiful skin is such an unexpected gift, an exquisite source of sadness and joy I could never comprehend before living through it.
I burst with pride as you tackle school and extra-curricular activities and new experiences head-on with an enthusiasm I didn’t even know possible. I am struck by the compassion you offer to others in endless bounds. I love seeing how capable you are of taking care of yourself and how your self-confidence is growing in lockstep.
You are pulling away from me in every way, and it pains me more than you. And this causes a palpable tension between us, a tug-of-war that has no end in sight.
And I’m a glutton for punishment, just like every mother is. I keep asking, “How was your day?” despite knowing I will only receive a grunt or a mumbled, “Fine.” Or I invite you to go on a Starbucks run even though I know you’d rather be on your phone texting your friends or finishing your homework. I still ask if you want a snack when you’re studying or quietly hover when you’re sitting at the kitchen counter—even though I know you can do these things for yourself your own way.
I know the answer will more often be no than yes, but I ask again and again. Because, sweet girl, there is something you should know.
More often than not, daughters come back to their mothers, even after breaking away.
I know this because I was once a teenager, too. Almost overnight I went from feeling like my mother was always breathing down my neck to her becoming one of my dearest friends and confidants. I know this is hard for you to imagine right now, but it’s true.
And despite the way I treated her in my teens, despite my pushing her away and fighting her affections and believing she was holding me back, she patiently waited for me to come back to her—just as I will be waiting for you.
Because ours is a tale as old as time, dear daughter, and while you continue to cut the last remaining strings of our bond, I desperately cling to the few I have left.
And I cling to the hope that one day, not too far off into the future, you will return to me.
You will come back to me where I will be waiting with open arms. Because that’s what mothers do for their daughters who spend their teen years breaking free.
Teen and tween girls can be the hardest to shop for! You can’t buy love, but you can find them a great gift! Here are some of our favorites.
Perfect for online classes or rocking out in the bedroom, these noise cancelling headphones help keep learning distraction-free and excess noise to a minimum. With soft ear pads and a lightweight design, she’ll be comfortable wearing these for long periods of time, whether she’s participating in class, gaming, or escaping to the sounds of her favorite music.Shop Online
Sometimes it’s fun to kick it back old school. Easy to use and way more fun than Instagram, this camera comes in a variety of colors that pop. Two packs of film are included so she can get her snap on instantly.Shop Online
It’s common knowledge that teen/tween girls are under a lot of stress in today’s world, and anxiety can be a common problem. Aromatherapy dough helps refocus, rebalance, and restore. As you knead, it will take the edge off and act as a hand strengthener. Simply squeeze the dough and enjoy.
What teen doesn’t love a good hoodie? Only the HoodiePillow Pillowcase can provide ultimate cocoonification, helping you tuck away the stresses of your day. It supplies warmth, quiet, focus, and a healthy sleep environment. Added bonus, it has a space for headphones and your phone or remote.Shop Online
The soothing hug of a weighted blanket relaxes the body and reduces tossing and turning at night. Now she can sleep like a baby throughout the night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. If you have a teen that faces anxiety or other mental health issues, weighted blankets also can be a source of calm and comfort.Shop Online
Who doesn’t like to rock out in the shower pretending to be the lead singer in their favorite band (we know it’s not just us!) This bluetooth speaker is portable and fully waterproof. Perfect for the pool, beach or hiking with friends too!Shop Online
A must-have every day accessory that she can’t live without. These SOJOS Aviator Sunglasses add flash without breaking the bank. Plus, they provide added UV protection, which she may not care about yet, but you do!Shop Online
Have a girl who loves to binge-watch? The Fire TV Cube allows her to do just that without lifting a finger. She can control the TV with just her voice, making changing the channel and volume super easy. She can access her favorite movies and TV shows, along with Netflix, Hulu, and more.Shop Online
Teens love movies, and this portable mini-projector allows them to enjoy cinema anywhere at any time. Great for travel or a girls-night in. If you’re lucky, maybe she’ll ask you to watch a chick flick together (fingers crossed!)Shop Online
Who has hours to spend on your hair when you want a few minutes to sleep before school (or want to check in on your friends on Snap or Insta!) These microfiber hair towels can cut the drying time in half, important for a girl on the go! Our teen girls love these on busy nights or early mornings.Shop Online
Raising teen girls is hard!
This book has been a go-to for us as our daughters transition into young women. We thought you might like it, too!
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