A week ago the Not-So-Little One and I had a fight. A loud one. Tempers were flaring, voices were rising, tears were flowing, words were flying... a lot of what I know to be effective parenting went out the window. At times we were both wrong. At other times we were both right. We both said some things that needed saying. And I'm sure we both wish we could take some things back.
After we went to our corners and the dust settled, we apologized. She told me she doesn't like getting mad at me. I explained that it was normal for her to get angry with her mother, and that it was normal for me to get angry with my daughters. I told her I was always on her side, even when it doesn't seem like it to her. She asked for a hug, and we hugged for a long, long time. Started crying all over again.
I had a little time to think about all of it while I was licking my wounds. I decided that this is the way it is supposed to be. If she never argued with me, I would never know when I was being unreasonable. If she never voiced her opinion, I would never know who she really is inside, what matters to her, what makes her her.
These occasional arguments serve to bring us closer because we both refuse to turn our backs on each other. As long as we choose to use what we've learned about one another during the encounter to build bridges instead of walls, we will have a relationship.
It hurts to fight. I like to avoid conflict whenever possible. But it's not the end of the world. It is part of growing in a relationship - every now and then someone has to take the lead, and that brings about resistance. The aches my heart feels are the result of my own growth as a parent and an individual.
Sunday she sat close to me at church and held my hand. I chose not to remind her that church is a public place in which people can actually SEE a teenager being nice to her mother.