It won’t be enough for me to prepare her for the physical changes that will take place within her body. I will have to remember my own puberty, my own girlhood oversensitivity, my own fears and confusion about all of the feelings that were raging through my head and heart. I will have to separate my own adolescence from hers, to let her voice her frustrations and anger without taking it personally. I will have to let her slam doors and hate me on occasion. Let her feel her own personal feelings with the knowledge at times that all I will be able to do is offer to run her a bath or bring her a heating pad.
I will be able to explain the physical changes and prepare her with a backpack full of sanitary napkins. Speak to her at length about birth control and the various emotions she will feel and how her mood swings are totally normal. It’s the waiting that worries me. The time between her puberty and her growing up, when a few years after she starts bleeding and her hormone levels even out that she will stop taking out any girlhood anger issues with me.
I will remember my own adolescent fury at my mother for just being a mother, for setting boundaries, for trying to keep me warm in winter when I tried to wear a short skirt out of the house as the snow fell, for giving me rules, and guidelines, and her endless suggestions for living. I will listen to the doors slam and collect the pieces of my heart from the floor and wait for her to come back to me. Just like my own mother did.