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When your 17 yr old daughter wants to start ‘being friends’ again with the boy that broke her heart

This morning, she announced that she was going up the beach with her ex-boyfriend - the one who cheated on her, the one who she let treat her appallingly. Admittedly there’s heaps of others going too but my reaction wasn’t great - I was angry with her - how could she be so ‘stupid’. Had she learned nothing? Why the hell would she want to spend time with someone who’s been the brunt of so much of her unhappiness for the last two years? I decided to take myself off for a walk before I yelled copious amounts of unfiltered abuse at her and said something I’d regret. I did say a couple of things and I did slam the door, so it definitely wasn’t perfect.

When I got back, we both apologised, she listened, as did I - I told her I thought it was a bad choice because I care, because I’ve walked the journey with her, helped stitch her broken heart back together, listened to her bag her mates who, in her mind, make stupid choices, told her she’d feel the same if the shoe was on the other foot and she agreed and said she understood.

I also told her that I wanted to tell her she couldn’t go but that wouldn’t be very productive and told her I’d still love her and be there for her regardless blah blah and then she apologised and went anyway!

I feel like I’ve just been broken up with - it’s the weirdest feeling - guess I have to thank her for making me realise that just because I’m her mum, it doesn’t mean that with that gift and responsibility, automatically comes the ‘right’ and superpower to all of a sudden be able to wield control over another human being.

She wants to go out there and be her own person, have her own experiences, and learn her way. Isn’t that what it’s about and isn’t that exactly what’s ‘meant’ to happen?! At the end of the day, mother or not, I’m just a vessel that brought her into the world, that has been granted the role of protector and teacher - a role designed to ensure she’s confident enough to go out into the world alone, fall down, brush herself off and get back up again, to come to me when she needs or wants to and to decide to withhold information too if she chooses.

It’s a role that’s both confusing and rewarding at the same time. It’s frustrating. Why? Mainly when, if I’m completely honest she’s not listening to me and doing what I want and feel to be the right thing to do. That’s really shallow and selfish though - that’s a shitty way to be in a relationship - with anyone!

My job is to love her for who she is, to respect her decisions and choices, to communicate calmly, kindly and clearly when I disagree, to set solid boundaries, to listen to her scream and cry, to stroke her hair when she’s sad, to laugh when she’s ready to laugh, to eat chocolate and watch crap TV with her and to be ok when she disagrees with me and does something I don’t want her to do, regardless.

I have to trust that I’ve led by example as much as is humanly possible and accept that I’m not perfect, I do dumb things too, I make stupid mistakes and choices and I’m 45 for god’s sake - how the bloody hell can I expect her to know all the things and make all the ‘right’ decisions and choices all the time - and actually, who’s to say that she hasn’t made the ‘right’ choice anyway?! She’s being grown up enough to put the past behind her (something I’ve banged on about forever!), moved on, let it go and just wants to now hang out and be friends with him.

It’s me that’s potentially now causing the problem and the issue, not trusting her to know her own self. The self I’ve, to all intents and purposes, helped to mold and create - aaagggghhhh! The irony! So now, what I have to do, is stop making it about me, flip it all on its head and celebrate the fact that I’ve raised a daughter who’s strong enough and emotionally mature enough to forgive, move on and stand strong with her choices regardless of how it makes other people feel because she’s been raised to believe that what other people feel about her is none of her business - until the next time!

Here’s to the weekend people! Live and let live!

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