Have you ever said yes to something even though deep in your gut you thought you should have said no? Raising a teenage daughter has been pretty easy for me up until this year. The struggle is getting real.
How much freedom do you give? How much do you monitor homework and grades? What chores do you make them do on top of the school work and extracurricular activities? Do you make them do extra-curricular activities even if they don’t want to? Is there an appropriate curfew? How hard do you push them to reach potential?
A few weeks ago my daughter had a friend over.I could hear them in her room snap chatting and laughing, which is heaven to my ears. How could a Friday night be any better? Your teenage daughter is home safe…with a girlfriend! My husband and I are in relax mode sitting by the fireplace chatting. Then came the “ping” and the text message appeared, “Mom,can we walk to “boy’s name” house?” My heart stopped, then started pounding. I sat for a moment and thought of a million reasons why I was going to tell her no; it’s 9 pm,too late, it’s dark, it’s cold, you have a B in math, etc. Then I thought of a million reasons why I should say yes; it’s a minute walk,socializing is healthy, trust is important, etc. Then I stood up and walked to her room.
When I opened her door both girls were sitting on the bed playing video games. I couldn’t understand why they wanted to leave the comfort of this sanctuary. As I opened my mouth questions began to pour out, “Are his parents home? Who else is there? How does he do in school? Does he drive? Will there be drinking? Will there be drugs? Does anyone vape?” and a few more I am sure. They both sat there staring at me and gave a little giggle but also began to tell me exactly what I wanted to hear, except one… “His parents aren’t home, but his Grandma is.” So now what? I said yes.
As they put on their shoes I offered them a ride, but they politely declined. Once again my mouth opened spouting, “Do not get in the car with anyone and stay together!” As they opened the door they said “Don’t worry, we will be fine.” And they were gone. At that moment I wished I had said no. As soon as the garage door closed I opened the app Find my I phone and began tracking them. Is this crazy?
I laid in bed waiting for them to get home, I had given them a 12 am curfew. Like clockwork (my daughter is so good) the garage door opened at 11:58 pm. I breathed a sigh of relief and messaged her “hi and goodnight” just so she knew I heard her come in. Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep. That’s when the nightmare began…
We were on a family trip to a museum when I realized I had forgotten something in the car. My daughter (teenager) was annoyed and didn’t want to walk back to the car with us, so she waited inside.I remember seeing her leaning up against the wall completely engaged in her phone, as if no one else existed around her. When we came back from the car I didn’t see her anymore. I walked around looking for her, I texted her and even tried calling, no luck. The fear began to overtake my body and I began to think erratically . A security guard approached me and told me he saw a young girl go off with a gentleman, but there was no struggle so he didn’t think twice about it. At that moment the unthinkable went through my head; she is being raped,she is being sold for sex, she is drugged and will be killed. Somehow I managed to open the Find my i phone app to track her and I saw that she was 4 hours away and headed for Canada. I called the police and got in my car. She wasn’t responding to my calls or text messages and she was getting further and further away from me. That’s when I woke up. My heart was pounding and I was incomplete distress. Every time I closed my eyes to try to fall back asleep the dream was running through my head, it was so real. Finally I fell back asleep.
“We found your daughter” said the voice over the phone. When I arrived to the house where she was, she came outside. She looked great and she was smiling. We embraced each other like never before.Just then she pulled back and told me she could only see me for the holidays and that her new family was taking good care of her. She no longer had a cellphone, she was doing great in school and she felt great. I cried in her arms because I had failed her. I woke up crying.
This nightmare could mean so many things but it led me to the question “Am I doing a good job raising my teenage daughter?” The constant arguing about grades, communication, family time and video games has led to many tears. “I am not a demon child.” “Why are you doing this to me?” “It’s not fair.” have been frequent phrases. My heart breaks each time I hear these words because my daughter is awesome and I am doing my best, wanting nothing more than to see her grow up to be a happy, healthy, well rounded, successful woman. My daughter IS amazing now! I don’t ever want her to lose that shine! This nightmare has changed my life as far as raising my daughter, it was a reality check. Even though it was a dream, it was real. I will follow my heart and hope I make the right decisions. The Struggle is real and it will continue, but I will remain strong. Talking with friends of teenage daughters, we all go through some tough times. Share this story with other moms, we are not alone. I would love to hear your stories too and how you managed!
Update: Four weeks later
Comment below or send me an email. I would love to hear your story and how you handled it. livinghealthywithNicholaMarie #fortyandyonder