I had been warned many, many, times from people who know better than me and had been through this relationship hurdle before. But I really did believe that our relationship was special, that nothing could break our bond, and that we’d be that ‘twosome’ others would aspire to be like; that people would think, ‘Wow. They are so perfect together. You can really tell how much they adore each other.’ After all, we’ve been together for 13 plus years and rarely, if ever, did we fight. We like the same things, we have the same hobbies, we even look so much alike. Whatever we did together, we had fun and were always laughing. We still slept in the same bed.
Then, I was dumped. Well, that’s what it felt like.
It was so sudden. I never saw it coming. So when, what I now refer to as, ‘The Final Kiss’ did happen, it felt like I had been stabbed in the heart. I’m not going to lie; it stung. It was an emotional punch to the gut.
This is what happened: Last Monday, I got my usual goodbye kiss on my cheek from my daughter and we both made heart shapes with our hands, as we have done every morning for more than a decade, as she got out of the car in front of her school. But, then, on Tuesday, I didn’t get my kiss goodbye. In fact, I barely got a goodbye.
Something in our close relationship had shifted and changed overnight, except no one had given me the memo. There had been no warning. Usually there are signs when a relationship is about to change or go sour. But this? This lack of affection blindsided me. My darling daughter, who once had to hold my hand at all times, even while I was driving, hopped out of the car with no kiss, no hands shaped in a heart as a goodbye, and no look back at me.
Yes, I feel incredibly stupid. Every single friend of mine who has teenagers warned me. ‘Just wait,’ they all said. ‘Just you wait.’ But I waved them off, because like I said, I thought that my relationship with my daughter was special. Basically, I’m an idiot! I mean, who did I think I was to think that my teenager would be different from all other teenagers? It turns out we’re not so special and I feel like a royal ass for even thinking that somehow we were different and that our relationship wouldn’t change when my daughter, and favourite person in the world, became a teen. Well, the joke’s on me.
I immediately went into the stages of mourning our relationship. ‘What the hell just happened?’ I thought, as I drove off. I was in shock, in the same way I was in complete shock when I was once dumped after a fabulous day with a man I had been seeing for a couple of months, and he suddenly announced, ‘I’m sure you can see that this isn’t working out.’ Um, no,’ I told him, ‘I didn’t see this coming, since we had just had sex…six hours earlier!’
Much like being dumped, I then immediately felt a desperate and furious need to call or text my daughter, for some sort of closure or explanation for her sudden lack of PDA in front of her school. I felt like I needed to know what happened; did I do something wrong, was it me?
But I held back texting her (I’m not one who likes to chase.) By the time I got to work, I not only had that horrible knot in my stomach, that kind where you can’t eat because you are so lost and sad. I really did feel like I was grieving the end of a relationship and was going through a horrible breakup.
My daughter’s lack of affection hurt more than any guy who had ever dumped me. Added to those feelings of being a big fat loser, I also thought it was completely rude. I’m not exaggerating when I say I spent ten minutes in my car in the parking lot trying to fight back tears, because I didn’t want to show up at work with bloodshot eyes. I did, however, want to drive back home, curl up in a ball in my bed and just sob it out. Just like when a guy you like dumps you, for no apparent reason, I thought about my teenage daughter and the sudden loss of that goodbye kiss for the entire day. Like going through a breakup, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else, except my daughter and what the hell happened?
As they say when you break up, you should keep busy, but even trying to keep busy didn’t take my mind off the fact my daughter was definitely now a teen. Then, like women who we all know who hope that the guy will change his mind and beg for us back, I convinced myself that Wednesday would be different, and that the previous morning when my daughter hopped out of the car with barely a wave was a fluke and that she had made a horrible mistake which, of course, I would forgive.
I would like to say, yes, it was an error in judgement on her part, and that was all, but that was not all. I dropped her off on Wednesday and got the same half-hearted goodbye again. While I have always been very good with the end of relationships—nope, I don’t call, or text or, worse, beg—my daughter is someone I see every day and, duh, live with. So I folded. That night I said to her, ‘I’m just curious, but you barely said goodbye to me yesterday and today. I didn’t get my kiss. What changed? I’m not going to get mad, I just really am curious.’ Her answer, depending on your sensibilities, is either a good one or a bad one. ‘Well, I know I’m going to see you again right after school.’ She spoke the truth, but my feelings were still hurt.
There was some sort of closure with what she said. But now I live in complete and utter fear of what the next few years will bring me, as so many of my mother friends of teenage girls will literally say how ‘bitchy’ their kids are to them. They don’t answer questions anymore. They grunt. They roll their eyes. They tell you to f*** off. Apparently, the first sign of the tortuous teenage years is the sudden lack of PDA. Apparently, it gets much, much worse. Now I listen, because I know I’m not so special. I’m just like most mothers with a pre-teen or teenager.
Still, at home, my daughter will tell me how much she loves me, will cuddle with me in bed, hugs me, and still wants to hang with me. But, alas, that may have been the last public kiss goodbye. It’s hard to be positive when someone you love so deeply changes their attitude towards you. What else can I say aside from that I had no idea how much it would hurt? I’m giving virtual hugs to every mother out there who has a teenager.
I’m also now looking at it like all my previous relationships with men. We had a incredibly good run. And, in my experience, when it comes to relationships, the more you stay silent, they more they want you back. It may take a few years, according to my friend’s who’ve been through this, but I’m pretty positive my daughter, who once couldn’t get out of the car without kissing me goodbye, will be back. Until then, I’ll wait patiently…and maybe drown my sorrows for a few days with a bucket of ice cream and a bottle of wine. Just stop me if I say I need a new hairstyle.