When Robin and I had Isabelle it was the happiest day of our lives. Well technically, the day kind of sucked for me because I was so sick from the anesthesia which knocked me out till the next morning after her birth. Other than that – it was the best day of my life! On a positive note, I did see several pictures of how great her birthday was for the rest of my family as they took turns holding her and smiling while I laid in the recovery room. Fast forward through the years, Isabelle progressed from adorable baby, toddler, little girl to an amazing and beautiful young woman.
Thankfully, Isabelle had been relatively easy to raise but when she hit the teenage years, it became a whole new ball game. In fairness, we were warned by those before us how difficult this age was however, I guess no parent thinks it will happen to them. So as predicted around her fourteenth birthday, teenage emotions kicked in and Robin and I began to experience the torture that no dad or mom seem to escape. We found ourselves on a self imposed rollercoaster ride never knowing what surprise was around the corner. With that being said, there was always comfort in feeling that I had a partner who was in it with me for the long-haul.
In the past, Robin and I used a tag team approach when it came to parenting. Whenever their was a problem, we would decide who would lead and who would follow. Robin would lead when it came to school, sports and medical situations. I would play starter when it came to the big three – friends, fashion and feelings. Our plan included the appointed parent going in and trying to resolve the issue as quickly as possible with Isabelle. When all the energy got sucked out of one of us, the B team was deployed to finish the job. After our teenager’s problem subsided, we would recap the averted catastrophe, discussing lessons learned and improvement opportunities for the next time. We made an awesome team – we really did!!
Robin and I were so different when it came to dealing with Isabelle. Robin would move in quietly and not talk about the situation. Isabelle would eventually open up to him. Sometimes his technique went terribly wrong and he would lose it and start screaming which would result in him being pulled from the mission. My style was polar opposite, I used the let’s talk about it and the role play approach. Usually my parenting technique elicited major eye rolls and general annoyance from her. Yet my resilience to her rejection towards me finally won out and she would share what was on her mind and then we would try to resolve it.
Now that I am alone, tackling all the ups and downs that Isabelle is experiencing really puts me out of my comfort zone. Is it fair to admit that at times I am scared of my daughter? It is like poking the bear … not sure if you are going to get a positive response or eaten alive! I have been really proud how Isabelle has handled the last few horrible months. Unfortunately, it seems like when it rains it pours as we deal with so many challenges from school, friends to self image. It breaks my heart and I try so hard to be both parents to her and feel that I fall short of the mark.
These are the times where I really miss Robin and wish I could connect and get some sort of nudge on how I should handle the situation. We have recently had some sports related issues and this is totally his territory. I keep thinking … what would Robin do and hope that I get hit in the head with a basketball and a solution. Then I realize that sometimes I did not listen to him when he was alive… so what the hell go with my gut!!!
Isabelle and I are now developing our evolving relationship and with all adventures we continue to learn and grow together. We have begun some new routines such as introducing Hello Fresh for dinner. We have a rhythm now where she cooks dinner and I scream at her to clean the kitchen properly. Or wanting to cuddle with her on the couch and she pulling away like I have the plague which always makes a mom feel good. However, every few moments.. I get a glimmer of hope when she tells me “I love you mom or you always save the day.” Words like that make this all worth it. Obviously we are not the same without Robin but we are making progress…