As anyone who has read my posts here or on my blog knows, the last 2 years or so with my teen daughter Anna have not been the best of my life. It hasn't been fun seeing my affectionate, friendly little girl morph into a hostile, alienated teenager who I could not, by the farthest stretch of my imagination, connect with the daughter I had once known and loved.
When I would complain about her to friends, they would be quick to reassure me that "she'll come back." Come back? I didn't want her back. I wanted her to go away, far away, so I could stop feeling so miserable every day. I wouldn't trust her if she did "come back" - who knew when she would turn on me again?
And then yesterday, at dinner, her littlest sister Susie did this not-so-endearing trick she has of spitting out "yucky" food onto the table between her and Anna. Understand that, for the past 2 years, an episode of this nature would result in Anna leaving the table in utter disgust and perhaps holing herself up in her bedroom for 24 hours to recover from the experience. So, reflexively, I winced.
Imagine my shock when I heard Anna laugh. Laugh! And then I heard her, still laughing, say, "Oh, that's so gross, stop it, Susie!" in a sweetly cajoling voice - a voice I haven't heard in a long, long time.
And my heart? You know, the heart hardened by 2 years of teen daughter hostility and anger? It melted. Just like that.