Saturday, September 29, 2007

Struggling through the teen years

This has been my week. Monday -- doctor's office with womanchild -- migraine. The old reliable medication is no longer working well. Tuesday -- call from school -- more migraining and stomach acting up. Wednesday -- traffic court with the womanchild who got her license and promptly got not one, but two tickets. Thursday -- my migraine kicked in. Friday -- doctor's office with the womanchild. My non-crying daughter was doubled over and crying with stomach pains. Recommendation -- go to the emergency room now, not the local ER in our small hometown hospital, but the ER in rural west Tennessee's main hospital. Today, I made her quit her job. On Monday, we'll find out if she will qualify for Homebound Education through her high school. If not, well, it looks like we'll be homeschooling.

The womanchild isn't a slacker who dislikes school. She gets frustrated because it's her nature. When her Freshman English class was required to read Patricia Cornwell's The Body Farm, she went ballistic because it wasn't a book she deemed worthy of study. She was pretty much the ringleader of a group of students who walked out of a school program featuring an evangelist because she felt it went against the separation of church and state. She's known for having the courage of her convictions, an independent streak a mile wide, a kind heart, a sharp tongue and no tolerance for bullies or fools. She's convinced the world would be a better place if she were in charge. I pat her on the head and call her my little fascist. (Jokingly, people! She says she's a Libertarian.)

She's an honor student, a member of Beta Club, FTA, the French Club, the Spanish Club, the Drama Club and the Criminal Justice Skills Club. She does additional volunteer work and has made Who's Who Among American High School Students two years in a row. She was nominated for The National Society of High School Scholars, but the GPA wasn't quite high enough. I say these things not just because I'm proud of her, but to show that "but Mom, I've got a headache" doesn't really apply here. She's got a social life, a cute boyfriend, is into indie music (not emo, Mom, indie) and really wants to get a tattoo of the Yggdrasil tree on her side. That will wait until she no longer has to have my permission. Many parents have to get onto their kids to get up and do something. I find myself in the odd position of advising her to blow off homework sometimes because she's stressing over it too much and needs to take care of herself. She's not goth, preppy, nerd, geek, brain or any other easily applied high school cliche'.

She is however paying the consequences of several years of bulimia and anorexia, and the pain she's in now is most likely the result of years of abusing her body with starvation and bulimia. A drastically thinned stomach lining is the most recent guess as to what is causing her pain. We've had one doctor tell us that she's probably shorter than she would have been if she hadn't been bulimic. She and I are both convinced that this messed with her brain chemistry as well as her body chemistry, making the depression she's prone to harder to handle. This would be easier to understand if bingeing and purging were still a problem, but it hasn't been for years. We've been lulled into a false security, but her eating disorder is still affecting her life.

The last few years have been amazing ones for her. She rushes at life headlong and often takes things right on the chin. Headstrong, stubborn, finding her balance between a deep pessimism about people and sensing a plan in the universe that she attributes solely to what can be explained by science, C. learns lessons the hard way. But damn, the kid learns. She's gone from easily intimidated to outspoken, starving herself to maintaining an stable weight on a good vegetarian diet, hopeless to determined. She feels like she went from small child to adult nearly overnight and regrets that. I do too, more than I can say. Now, she's got to learn to ease up, to be young again, to be less busy and still find a way to feel fulfilled.

I've got the feeling this might be as easy as straightening a tightly coiled spring, but she has got to do it, and I have to help.

, , ,


Anonymous Barbara said...

Prayers for both you and your daughter. ;o)

September 30, 2007 10:25 AM  
Blogger Katherine E. said...

Yes, prayers indeed, for, as you put it "easing up, being young again, less busy, but still finding a way to feel fulfilled." For finding her way toward her true self.

September 30, 2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger Magdalene6127 said...

Thinking of you, and praying for you both, Cynthia.


September 30, 2007 10:24 PM  
Blogger Tressa said...


How well I remember when my daughter was like that (when was she not like that) It took a hurricane to bring her home... Still all thats well ends well and I will be praying that YOUR child recovers from her health issues and that she always maintains the strength of mind she obviously has.

Y'know my daughter was so much more difficult than my sons...but I wouldn't change her for the world.


PS...I'm back.

October 01, 2007 9:34 PM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

She sounds terrific, Cynthia, and yet those teen years are always hard, and the moreso when you're the parent of a bright, independent, headstrong child. I'll be thinking good thoughts for both of you.


October 05, 2007 12:59 AM  
Blogger Jerri said...

Keep looking for the cause of this. My daughter, who is a lot like yours sounds, suddenly had headaches and stomach pains. Her pediatrician treated her for a bladder infection at one point. She lost 25 pounds and her hair started falling out.

I watched for signs of bulemia and took her to the doctor over and over.

Finally, the answer came to me like a bolt of lighting. The next morning the doctor confirmed that she had diabetes, Type 1.

I say all this only to support your knowing that this is not a figment of her imagination or yours. Something is out of whack and you will find it.

All Blessings for the journey.

October 05, 2007 8:12 AM  
Blogger Wenda said...

(( ))

October 05, 2007 9:08 PM  
Blogger Jod{i} said...

I send all my thoughts and will do so when I meditate...
I was reading this and all those years ago...came rushing in...I can so relate to this Cyn....More than anyone knows...


If you need an ear...

October 07, 2007 6:21 AM  

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