DQ grimaced and rubbed her leg after lunging after the soccer ball in an epic save against the goal. She had stopped it from going in and expertly kicked it halfway across the field. But in the process she had been hit in the thigh. The twisted look on her face said more than she was willing to let on to her coach, but the pain wasn’t going away. And so I did what any mother would do when they see their kid hurt on the field – I let the coach know. As a result, the coach suited up another player to take over as goalie. I took a quick glance over at DQ who now wore a furious look on her face knowing she was about to be pulled from the game. At the next throw-in, the coach called DQ out and the new girl in. And DQ came off the field, loudly exclaiming that she was fine. And by her run, I saw that she really was fine. I immediately regretted opening my mouth.
“I was fine!” she huffed as she sat on my blanket next to me. “Why’d she have to take me out?” I admitted to her it was my fault, that I had said something because it looked like she was in pain.
“Just take a breather and then she’ll put you back in,” I told her.
“But there’s only a few minutes left,” she scowled, and went over to the bench and sat their angrily. When she’d cooled off some, the coach did put her in. And DQ had time to make one more save before the game ended with three shrill bleets of the ref’s whistle. She’d missed out on playing goalie the whole half, and the team had lost bitterly to boot.
Her mood remained sour for much longer than I thought necessary as we made our way home, and I started to explain my position of preferring to be wrong over how hurt she was by pulling her out than having her be severely hurt and keeping her in. But she stopped me before I could.
“I’m sorry Mom. It doesn’t really have anything to do with this. I’ve just had a really rough day.” And she slunk down in her chair. I was about to ask her why when she interrupted again. “You haven’t, by any chance, talked to my principal, have you?” I’ve known her principal for years, having been close friends with her sister for more than half my life.
“No…. Are you in trouble?” I asked her. It didn’t seem likely, since DQ, while mouthy, is not one to necessarily stir up mischief.
“No, no trouble. I just talked with her about some stuff.”
“Do you want to talk with me about it?” I asked her.
“No, not really.”
That was all she would say about it, even when I pressed her. And when I finally asked her why she wouldn’t share with me, she told me, “Mom, I share more things with you than most kids would share with their moms. But I’d rather not discuss this with you.” And with that, the conversation was over.
Why was I having such a problem with this? I knew the day would come when I was no longer the person she came to about things close to her heart. There were countless things I had kept from my own mother – not because I thought I’d be in trouble, but because I felt like she just wouldn’t understand. Regardless if I knew I could handle most anything DQ told me, it was inevitable there would be things she’d rather not discuss with me.
“You and your daughter have shared a special bond for a long time, Crissi,” Mr. W told me as I broke down over this. “Of course this hurts.” I felt silly to lose tears over something that was as natural as a teen asserting her independence. Even knowing it would come, and all the signs had been pointing this way for awhile now, it still didn’t seem real. But there was something bigger that I still couldn’t pinpoint regarding what the heck was eating me up so hard over this.
I went to bed mulling this over, and woke up the next morning with it fresh on my mind. I was embarrassed that I had even continued to press the issue with her, even after she had laid out her boundaries that this was off limits from me. I even went so far as to email my friend, the principal. I didn’t go so far as to ask her what was going on, but asked her if there was something I should be concerned about. Outwardly, I was just being a dedicated parent who wanted to be sure her daughter was OK and not in over her head over something. But inside, I was hoping to get the scoop on whatever DQ couldn’t tell me, but could confide in her principal.
And that’s when it hit me. It wasn’t so much that she couldn’t tell me something. It was more that she trusted another adult over me to confide in.
Of course it’s natural that my daughter would want to confide in someone else besides me regarding some things. And the truth is, I always wondered if there were people in our lives that she could go to should something be too deep to share with me. But now that she had found someone to fit that role, I was forgetting that this was actually a good thing.
DQ came in my room that morning. While I was still curious over what was eating her up, I told her I would respect her space on this. I admitted my email to her principal, and her eyes narrowed. But I relayed the email I received back, assuring her that the principal had revealed nothing, only telling me that DQ was just “being a teenager”, and that she’d check in with her Monday morning.
I still don’t know what’s up. And I’m not going to lie, my curiosity hasn’t died out. But I don’t feel the need to press my daughter on this. Maybe she’ll tell me in her own time. Maybe I’ll never know. Regardless, there’s one thing that I almost missed that is more important than all of this – and that’s the fact that my daughter knew to come to someone who could help with an issue that was plaguing her. And as sucky as it it, that person doesn’t always have to be me.