January 16, 2011


My daughter didn't want me aboard the party bus.  The one rented for her sixteenth birthday party.  We had other chaperons so it shouldn't have bothered me.

But it did.

"Are you sure you don't want me on?" I asked her.

"Yes I'm sure, Mom!"

I stood outside the group of boisterous teenagers congregated at the corner ready for loading.  My daughter was laughing and chattering in the midst of them.  And there I stood, the onlooker.  No thought given to the eight hours of labor; no one wanting to hear that story.

I felt invisible.

They arrived back home as loudly as they'd left. When it came time for cake, she lit the candles without waiting for me.  In that moment, I realized what was bothering me.  She didn't need me anymore.  She had planned, decorated, invited and even baked her own cake. Without me.  And the more I thought about it, it became clear that it wasn't just about the party or feeling invisible--I was losing her.  The little girl who wanted me to play dolls, snuggle and fix her hair, didn't need me now.  It was the beginning of the end.

A week later, she and I were chatting with one of her friends.  My daughter shared something deeply personal.  Her friend nudged her, signaling her to shut up.

"Oh my Mom knows," my daughter said, "we have that kind of relationship."

And like the Grinch, my heart grew two sizes that day and melted into a giant puddle of happiness.  Maybe she doesn't need me to fix her cake or choose her clothes anymore; but we have that kind of relationship. One that, I hope, wraps her in unconditional love.

And in the length of one sentence, I felt visible again.


  1. She may well be becoming more independent in some ways, but I think daughters will always need their mothers.

  2. Wow--broke my heart and put it back together again.

  3. This reminds me of that saying that goes
    "If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were." - Kahlil Gibran

    The highs and lows of parenting certainly make life interesting- to say the least.

  4. Okay I dare any mom to read this without tearing up!!! Beautiful heartfelt post. She will always need you, just not always the way you expect! You have done a great job creating an independent young woman, who will ALWAYS need her mom! I can speak from experience. It's a gift, more alone time for you. Enjoy it!

    Hugs Giggles

  5. This brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing it, Catherine. I'm so glad you have that kind of relationship.

  6. I recall my own wife's agonising over the same situations with our daughters. It is the hurt of letting go and the joy of realising they are always part of you.

    A beautiful and touching piece.

  7. You wrote about this so honestly and bravely. I felt the pain and the healing.
    Teens have to break loose. It's what nature intends, but it's sure not easy.

  8. That must've been so heart warming to hear :) I make sure I have 'that kind of relationship' with my mom... :)

  9. I loved this post! I have sons, but I can tell you, the experience was very much the same. And, I can remember moments when my heart grew two sizes! What a fun read!

  10. Thanks for all your sweet and encouraging words. :D

  11. I loved this and have been thru something similar. So hard to lose your baby.

  12. What a gorgeous post. Beautiful <3 <3

  13. Oh my gosh--daughters are HARD on the heart!

  14. This is absolutely gorgeous.
    Reminds me of my mom and our "kind of relationship."

    And makes me smile when I think that this baby that I'm meeting soon could be a daughter of my very own. :)

  15. Sooo beautiful, made me all teary. Loved the way you described it all. As I was reading, my daughter had asked to fix lunch. As I finished reading with tears in my eyes, she called to me for emergency help. She said "Mom's are so good about knowing what to do in situations like this." then thanked me and gave me sweet hugs. sigh. ;) I was definitely appreciating the moment even more after reading your post!!

  16. You definitely have a way with words. Loved it! Thanks a lot for sharing your great stories.


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