Friday, June 01, 2012

Teenage Daughter Chronicles, Part II

So, ask me how my Memorial Day was.

My oldest daughter decided to run away.

Before you panic and call out the Amber alert, she is okay. My sister tracked her down by about 5:30 that evening, and we had a rather emotional evening.

So now starts a long summer of behavior modification. She is going to spend a lot of her summer on supervised family time. She will most likely hate it. She already does, having gotten into screaming matches with Mom on a few occasions. She managed to put a 1 foot square hole in the wall of the bedroom she shares with her two younger sisters.

She has already attempted negotiations with her mother and I on a number of topics, thinking that she has negotiating power. In some ways it is rather cute. She approaches the whole thing completely rationally and presents a decent argument, and then you remember, "Oh yeah, this is the same girl who ran away and didn't bother telling her parents that she was even alive."

The killer is she has always been the reliable one, the one who I could count on to be responsible, so now she is acting very stupidly, and she doesn't seem to grasp that things have changed.

To make it worse, there are occasional flashes of the daughter I remember: loving, kind, funny. If she were all one or the other, you could get used to it. But here she doesn't keep to one or the other.

And of course I feel like father of the year. I keep thinking of the "warning signs" I reasoned to myself weren't anything to worry about. I keep thinking of what I must have done to drive her to this. There are days when coming home fills me with dread, and I fear going to sleep, because she might decide to run again.

Prayer helps, of course. The Rosary is invaluable at times like this. I call on St. Joseph frequently. But there is a hole where my heart is, a cold dread, wondering about the future. At times I wondered if God didn't give us her little sister to make up for the loss of the eldest girl, terribile dictu. Again, father of the year.

It is going to be a long summer.