As the parent of a teenager, I keep thinking that there are so many things I should have figured out by now, some things should be second nature by now, that this parenting thing should be easier, come to me more naturally, I should have developed a parental instinct. But I feel so out of synch, so one-step behind. I can't seem to anticipate what might be just around the corner. It used to be that I knew when my daughter was up to no good, the house would get really quiet and still, or she would think she was being clever about something and I could follow her trail of deviousness that laid so clearly like bread crumbs on the forest floor. I could anticipate her needs, her fears, her anxieties, I knew what troubled her. I could control and prevent and intervene and gaurd and protect and teach and demonstrate right through whatever the danger might be. She is fifteen. Her world is different than mine was at fifteen. Just as my mother's was different from mine, and her mother's before her. Just so much bigger and more dangerous and more deadly. I have become my mother many times and in many different ways these past few years and I see from her eyes, hear with her ears, feel with her heart what it was to love me, to fear for me, to watch me make mistakes. My daughter does not know how much we are alike yet. I did not know how much I was like my mother. I did not know that I would one day grow up to love her as my friend, count on her for laughter and a good dose of reality now and then. I did not know. How mothering changes us. How loving so much changes the life we lead.

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