Drama Teens & Young Adult Coming of Age

I walked down the hall and paused outside her door. It was always closed these days. Getting her to come to dinner with the family was a struggle. Everything was short with her. The time spent, the conversations, the answers to questions…all short and simple. 

“How was school today?”


“Did you eat lunch”


“What did you have?”


“Was it good?”

“Yes.Ugh.I have to study.”

And off she would go to shut her door and be in there for hours and hours. She wouldn’t even look in our direction when she came out to go to the bathroom. I would randomly knock on her door with something to ask her about, sometimes it was a legit question, sometimes it was something I just came up with to check on her. She always gave me short answers, rarely looking at me. 

I knew something was wrong. My beautiful baby girl who always lit up the room was seemingly more like a shadow of herself. She only listened to angry or sad music now. Her paintings were dark, involving sad people, goth homes, and things all in black. She hardly smiled, rarely read her beloved books anymore, and seemed to hate us more with every minute she had to spend with us. 

I tried to think back to when things started to change. She had started to seem a slight bit off a few years back. Just not quite as chipper. I thought, “That was just hormones starting.” She was changing and had lots of questions. She became quieter because she was starting to focus on the world around her, the one that was bigger than her childhood bubble. Then I met and married my husband. She seemed so happy then. We redid a room in the new house just for her, decorating it in her favorite theme, with comforters and pictures and bathroom decor to match. She was eager to help plan the wedding and was delighted to be my maid of honor. 

Shortly after the wedding, I noticed her pulling away a lot more. She had so much homework with all of her honors classes. I began to think that it was too much. That I had put too much emphasis on making A’s and I was causing her to have anxiety over it. I pulled her aside one day and told her that I was super proud of all the hard work that she put into her education and that she deserved the A’s that she got but, should it get to be too much if she needed a break for any reason it was perfectly normal and that she was to let me know. I would help her to take a breather whenever I could. That seemed to lighten her just a bit. 

But I could still feel it. That nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach, the back of my mind, deep in my bones, that something still wasn’t right. My mind began to wander. Had someone hurt her? Was it a backstabbing friend or was it something more traumatic? Did she really not like her stepdad? Was she being bullied at school? My anxiety began to climb. 

I thought about how it is my one sole job as a mom to make sure my child is taken care of, given the opportunity to grow, and to protect her, mind, body, and soul. Had I failed her? Had I not taught her enough about how to lean on God? Had I not protected her from something traumatic? 

I felt frantic to find answers. I began to check out her room more whenever I was in there with her. I couldn’t bring myself to snoop. It made me feel terrible. As things got worse, that terrible feeling dissipated. One day I found myself sitting on my bed, going through her texts, unbeknownst to her. 

It turns out there was a boy.

He had swooped in and stolen her heart. He took her on dates with his parents chaperoning, was always the gentleman, opening doors, asking if he could hold her hand. It was such a sweet first romance. 

That is until he was away from his parents. His words began to change toward her. He began saying little things about her hair or her clothes or her friends. He began to slowly accuse her of things that weren’t her. He made her feel bad for having friends of the opposite sex, just by little comments at first and then later with full-blown accusations. He accused her of being wild and of being a “party girl”. My poor girl was so confused by his sudden change in personality. She began to think she was actually doing something wrong. That maybe she was being a party girl by having so many friends. And if she really loved him then why would she need any guy friends at all? Eventually, he began to tear her female friends down as well, pointing out why they were bad for her to hang around or talk to. He even began talking down her intelligence. If she made a comment that wasn’t “smart” he would remind her of it repeatedly following it up with “...and I thought you were the smart one.”

My emotions caught in my chest, like a rock and I began to sob. How could someone be so evil to tear down the amazing person that my daughter is? She spent all her time studying and going to church. She literally didn’t party at all. I sometimes wished she would take a break and hang out with friends more, not partying of course but being a kid and having fun and making memories. And here this little jerk was tearing her down and trying to douse her light. 

I took a deep breath and began to pray. 

“God, please help me. This pain for her goes deep. I feel like I can hardly breathe. I know the girl you made her to be. Please, please please don’t let him take that from her…” I began to sob all over again. After collecting myself I continued to pray. “Lord please help me to say the right thing. To help her in the way she needs to be helped. Give me the strength to handle this the way You want me to and not the way my anxiety will make me act.”

I took a deep breath, wiped my face off, and walked to her door. I stood looking at it, closed, inches from my face. I could feel myself trembling a bit. I closed my eyes, silently sending up a quick prayer, and opened the door. 

I talked to her. I was honest. I told her I had read the texts. I told her how much I felt hate in my heart for him right now. I told her how amazing she truly was and that he had no idea what he was talking about. 

She was honest in return. He had lied to her on numerous occasions. It had confused her. She had never been around a liar like that before. He had made her feel terrible about herself to the point of nightmares with his tearing down of her character. She had finally stood up to him and told him it was over but she still hadn’t processed it all. She had filled his mom in on some of it. His mom was super gracious and thanked her for telling her about him. 

It turned out, he was supposed to be on medication but in the intense high of falling in love, he felt he didn’t need it anymore. He had pretended to take it but flushed it instead. His mind had slowly drifted back to its original state before meds. He had created this whole other reality in his mind. That’s why nothing had made sense to everyone else. 

The open, honest communication was a turning point for my baby. She began, slowly, to let me in, to allow normal things like for us to be annoyed by each other once in a while (and know it wasn’t the end of the world). She began making deeper friendships and included her stepdad and me in on their shenanigans. She began to talk more, spend more time with family. She smiled more, snuggled and wrestled the dogs more, laughed until her sides hurt. Sometimes those laughs were with friends and sometimes they were with us. Either way, I cherished them all. 

January 01, 2022 19:59

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