What a week!
Work has been tough. I don’t know if there have been actually scientific studies on how changes in temperature and light affect children or maybe how the anticipation of Christmas plays a part, but goodness me… Work has been tough.
Monday night was a guilty but well needed change to the routine. My sisters surprised me and my daughter with tickets to see “War Horse” at the theatre. It was truly an amazing experience and I would highly recommend going to see this tear-inducing, heart-wrenching show.
It was also particularly special as it was a mummy-daughter night – a real rarity for her with two younger brothers. I remember looking at my daughter, sat in the train seat in front of me, not really taking in what she was saying (she never stopped talking the whole journey there) but looking at her beautiful face and the way she’d began to play with her own sense of style in what she’d chosen to wear. I felt fiercely proud of her – my growing-up girl – thirteen in age and excitement but older in looks and thought. She’s a child of contrast. She comes out with such maturity and sense sometimes that I have to remind myself how old she is. Other times she is petulant and childish and spiteful (particularly towards her brothers) and I wonder where my little angel has gone.
One of the highlights of my night, apart from seeing her face lit up with enjoyment at a particular scene, was the end when we stepped out in to the cold night and she grabbed my hand. We walked hand in hand through the city to catch the late train, me and my first born. I will never forget that and will cherish it in my heart forever.
Tonight has been a different matter altogether. She’s been moody and spiteful to her brothers but then dedicated herself to homework for lots of the night with real focus. We watched a little TV together when the boys were in bed and then I made the mistake of asking her about her options.
After Christmas, her Year group will be asked to choose their GCSE options ready for next year. It’s a big decision to make and one that could affect her choices for years to come.
We’ve chatted about it before. She’s not sure of her career path as yet and keeps changing her mind. I don’t blame her – I kept changing my mind until the last year of my degree.
I should have realised that it wasn’t a good time to mention it but to be honest, that’s all I did. I said that we would need to chat soon about her options.
Wow. I didn’t expect her response. I won’t bore you with the whole sorry conversation, but I can sum it up like this:
Me: I would like to hear your thoughts and ideas on what you want to choose so that we can discuss it together.
Her: (stubborn, moody and sulky) It’s my life, I am going to choose and I’m not going to talk to you about it.
Me: (slightly frustrated and hurt but trying to be calm and mature) yes it is, but I’d like to think we could have a mature conversation about it and talk it through.
Her: (not budging at all and just plain rude) you’ll just confuse me or try to make me change mind. I’m not talking to you about it, end of.
Me: (trying not to sound frustrated, hurt or angry) well I have to go to the meeting with you and sign the paperwork.
Her: (still not relenting) you don’t discuss it, you just sign. It’s a waste of time anyway because it is up to me.
And so it went on. Honestly? I’m hurt that she doesn’t want to share this big decision with me – not that I think I should make it with her, but more that I thought she’d want to talk it through with me. She doesn’t trust me.
Is that how she sees me? As someone who will not listen – someone who will not treat her views with respect? That’s the whole reason I want to have the conversation! I want to be a part of her life as she grows and develops. I feel like she is pushing me out. Already.
As often happens, the night and conversation ended with her storming off upstairs, loudly muttering unpleasantries as she went. Teenagers. Huh!
But what do I do now? I partly want her to know she’s upset me but you know what, this isn’t about me it’s about her. I want to help her and for her to trust me, but clearly she doesn’t.
And, OK, yes it did cross my mind that as I work at the school in senior management, she can’t shut me out entirely. But then, I’m never going to learn her trust that way, am I?