Looking back on my teenage years, I know I tortured you with "frying eggs."
I know you remember. Whenever you told me, "No," I pouted my lips and made a noise that resembled frying eggs. I would flip my side ponytail and stomp out of the room. When I got really feisty, I rolled my eyes before I turned around.
Suffice it to say, this resulted in you tackling me halfway down the hallway.
My intelligent, sassy and boy crazy ways proved to be a combination that caused constant consternation between us.
When I stormed into my room and slammed the door behind me, I often buried my face in my pillow so you wouldn't hear me and screamed, "I will never treat my children like this."
Oh, Mom, if I only knew then what I know now.
Back then, I didn't understand much of anything you did. It all seemed to be directed at intentionally putting a damper on my life.
Our relationship was on again, off again, which was usually directly correlated to how frequently I got what I wanted. It surely was "off again" during most of my teenage years.
But I want you to know, Mom, that some of my angst began at an earlier age. When I was 10, I tried to be the peacekeeper between you and dad, cleaning up from one end of the house to the other when you left. I'd always fail to do the one thing you asked me to do before you left.
I felt like you didn't appreciate everything else I had done for you.
After a while, I started deliberately doing things to set you off, even if it meant getting grounded. I never understood the reasoning behind telling me I couldn't go somewhere, particularly when I had transportation and money.
It angered me that you treated my younger brothers differently. The same rules didn't apply. It hurt me that you repeatedly made me feel like I was on my own.
I despised the fact that so little information was shared with me as a kid. I felt capable of handling it and was too observant to not notice when things weren't right. But you always told me not to worry about it.
I penalized you for appearing distant, tired and sad.
When I turned 28, our relationship started to get back on track. My own children provided "aha" moments that helped me appreciate you more. That only intensified when two of your grandchildren became teenagers.
Now I understand.
You were only trying to protect your stubborn and strong-willed daughter. Now I hear myself telling my kids "no," even when they have transportation and money. Often my gut is screaming at me that it isn't safe. And sometimes I am just too tired and can't stay awake until they get home.
I now know why you were tired all the time.
You appeared distant and sad because you were carrying all the burdens that life had dropped on you while trying to maintain some semblance of innocence in our own lives.
Of course you knew life would rob us of that innocence someday, but you did all you could to prolong it.
Now I understand, Mom, because I'm the mother getting acquainted with the pain of life.
Looking back, I'm lucky I didn't catch more hell from you for my eye-rolling, egg-frying tantrums.
I didn't always understand, and neither do my own children. I now know they will — eventually.
I'm so thankful that you've patiently waited all these years for me to come to my senses.
I'm here now, waiting for my children to do the same. I know they will someday, just as I have.
Thanks, Mom, for all you did — right and wrong.
Because it made me, me.
I love you.