I'm yet to see what these teenage years will have in store for us, but for now I am grateful.
I am grateful because my daughter and I are still good friends.
I can see she is changing: wanting a greater independence with her own friends, maintaining those friendships with the help of her mobile phone, considering a little make-up an essential part of an ordinary day.
She has (considerable) moments of grumpiness and she's a nightmare to wake up in the mornings.
But these things are to be expected and can be managed.
What thrills me about our relationship, though, is that without shirking parental responsibility I am so far maintaining friendship. Two things I am so thankful for and will treasure while they last:
- My daughter still likes to hold my hand when we go out together. She's not ashamed of her mum. We shop for clothes now instead of toys, but we still have this reassurance of touch.
- She lets me join in a little hanging out with her friends. Recently she had her best friend stay for a sleepover (who sleeps!!!). We watched DVDs together - the three of us - and then the two of them fussed over my hair, nails and make-up into the early hours of the morning. What a joy that they wanted me around, even if it was only to experiment on!
Whether you have young children, teenagers, grandchildren, nieces or nephews or even younger siblings think creatively about how you can build that relationship. Look for any positive points of contact and take care to keep them ticking over gently.
I let my younger daughter do art with me and we just chat. She says she likes how she can talk to me. I intend to be mindful of this and not let it slip away.
But things change - people change. We now have a teenager in the house. I'll hold her hand for as long as she is happy for me to do so, but on the day she pulls her hand away I will respect that. Hopefully then we will still be friends.