A short time ago, my daughter, Quinn began her journey into the turbulent teenage years. The child that once adored, looked up to, solicited advice from me and more or less was crazy glued to my side began to look at me with disapproval, questioned my advice and stayed approx 100 yards away from me in public like she was honoring a restraining order. To say it broke my heart is an understatement, to say I was confused is appropriate, to say I was outraged is dead on. Though I had heard this would happen at some point, I was in complete denial, after all, we were way too close to experience anything like all the other parents did at this age. WOW, was I wrong….not the first time, and certain it won’t be the last. What everyone needs to know is that as your child enters their teens, their bodies and minds are invaded in the middle of the night and are on some sort of remote control which is being operated by a selfish, self centered, entitled little know it all that you can’t locate and simply shut off, or “smack down” as I so desperately wanted to. One night you simply put them to bed, kiss them goodnight and in the morning when you go to wake them there is a vial creature whose head is spinning and they are spitting pea soup at you. Well, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but this is certainly what it felt like to me.
In any case, we went through a few months on this roller coaster ride. I tried desperately to maintain my cool, calm and reasonable demeanor, failing every other day when I would pop my cork and yell and lecture. All the while, I knew I was only pushing her further away. Finally I sought the advice of a counselor……she reassured me that this had nothing to do with anything I had done wrong, I hadn’t broke her, which I was happy and relieved to hear. This was simply a phase, and unfortunately one that would last a while. She suggested I lay down ground rules for discipline should Quinn’s actions be out of line. But most of all I should try and understand her perspective. She is finding herself, trying to assert her independence, feels like her world is upside down right now, and I should find ways to relate, listen and refrain from simply giving her solutions. I balked at this initially, after all, when I was growing up if I behaved as she was I would get a swift kick in the you know what and was told to “suck it up”….I turned out ok…I think. However, after much deliberation I decided I would follow the advice of the professional.
I started by practicing the art of keeping my mouth shut and simply listening instead of “telling her what I would do”. That seemed to help, she stopped spitting the pea soup at me. Then I loosened the reigns a bit and began letting her make decisions for herself (on the inconsequential things), and her head stopped spinning.
I was still dealing with the entitled, demanding and bossiness though and was trying to find a way to conquer these demons when I stumbled across an Origami Owl booklet. Aside from being totally into picking out a piece of incredibly cute jewelry for myself, my daughter was also thumbing through the book reading about the product line. How it had been started by a 14 yr old girl two years ago, how their motto was being a force for good and lastly how they encourage mother/daughter teams to sign up as Independent Designers. Quinn looked at me and said, “Mom, can we please do this together”. Since this was the first time in months she had asked to do ANYTHING with me, I jumped on it and we went home, logged onto the computer and signed up!!
While we waited for our kit to arrive we spent quite a bit of time coming up with a name for our little business, reading up on the products, thinking of ways to promote it. Finally, about a month into it, I realized, our daily tug-o-wars had not only diminished, they ceased all together. We were now communicating, sharing ideas, making jokes, spending time together and all without a struggle. I have gained the opportunity to teach her the responsibility of a job and managing money, she is gaining a creative outlet for her bazillion ideas. I am learning that she isn’t my “baby” anymore. She has developed an opinion, which is sometimes pretty good, she has a quick wit and dry sense of humor, that actually makes me laugh out loud. The bonuses that are developing out of this are countless.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not Mary Poppins, and she by no means is Shirley Temple. I still get the eye rolls, and the jokes mostly at my expense and though I’m allowed to view her instagram account, I’m not allowed to “follow” her, because that is completely uncool. But I am getting a part of my daughter back, the part that I don’t want to slap upside the head daily.
So, though Origami Owl has given us an avenue to generate some income, what it has really given me/us, I can’t put a price tag on.