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The Trouble with Thirteen

My daughter just turned 14 and I couldn’t be happier. Not just because it’s so gratifying and intriguing to see my child becoming a woman, but also because I was so dang tired of her being 13.

The day Gwen turned 13, she was a little girl, the day she turned 14, she was a young woman. And so in the 365 days between the two, she was in the sometimes painful process of metamorphosis. She had to slough off childhood and emerge into adulthood, and there were some awkward moments stuck between the two stages.

One particular “moment” during this year required some disciplinary action. Gwen was to lose her phone. Not for a month, like she had the last time, but for good. In the 20 months she had owned her phone, it went from being a toy of sorts—good for sharing ring tones and taking pictures of random things—to being a tool for flirting, often with more than one guy at a time, and often with guys with whom she shouldn’t be talking to for various reasons, age being primary among them.

The day I had to take the phone away, I started on my knees, asking God to give Gwen understanding,  help her to submit to her parents’ authority, and squelch the spirit of rebellion. That weekend had been a rocky one and now that I had made up my mind what needed to be done, I dreaded the backlash. She had been so angry—more so than I had ever seen her. It’s scary to see your child express unprecedented anger. And it’s worrisome—how much worse could this get? I believed I was about to find out.

Good-bye phone. What? No yelling at me? No, “Mom, you’re being ridiculous?” No. Nothing.

Ok, well, it’s probably coming a little later. Keep your guard up.

Later… Hmm. Still nothing. What’s up with that?

It’s been three months since Gwen lost her phone and there never was a backlash. On some level, she almost seems relieved by it. Maybe keeping up a flirt in a dozen different directions was actually pretty stressful—too much so for an emerging butterfly. Maybe my prayer was answered.