Teenagers get a bad rap. I love my teenager, and not just because I’m her Mom and I have to.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I told everyone that I hoped I was having a boy. Looking into the future I didn’t think I could handle being the mother of a teenage daughter – all those hormones, boys, and friend issues – a minefield for a parent. I knew how I was as a teenager, and I did not want to deal with that!

Now that I’m in the middle of it, it is not the horror I feared. It’s probably because my daughter isn’t just ‘some teenager,’ she’s my daughter. The baby who somehow survived my first feeble attempts at buckling her into a carseat. The little girl who rode her first bike with slippers on because it was softer to pedal that way. The girl who moved across the country right before 6th grade and never got mad at her parents for it, despite the difficulty. And now she is the teenager who gets up at 5 am every school day to attend seminary (religious education).

Yes, teenagers do have hormones, we all do. She probably understands me best on my bad days because she’s had a few inexplicable bad moments herself. Boys really aren’t much of an issue just yet, for now she thinks most of them act like her 7-year-old brother. When that day does come I will be nervous, but I’ll also be happy for her, remembering the excitement of my first date. I can’t think of a person better equipped to help her deal with friend issues than someone who has had (and continues to have) friend issues herself.

My daughter and I were out in public once when an older person went out of their way to walk far around her. She looked at me quizzically.
“Some people are afraid of teenagers,” I said.

“Oh, yeah, we’re so scary.”

I should tell her I used to be scared too.