We drive to the counseling center in silence. Me, pretending to listen to the radio. She, text messaging all of her friends. I can tell that she is nervous about this, and texting somehow makes her feel more secure. She looks so young and innocent all of a sudden.
We arrive and she goes into her “one-on-one session”. I am left in the waiting room, looking around at my surroundings. The office is in an old church which has been converted to an office. I am pretty sure that every furnishing in the room has been chosen for its soothing qualities. The music is classical and the reading material is sophisticated. There are no People or Us magazines for some reason. There are only beautiful books such as “20,000 Years of World Paintings”. I am pretty sure I will only be able to get through about 50 years of paintings during the allotted forty-five minute session. I am hoping that things will improve between us before I am able to make it through all 20,000 years of this book.
In this tranquil space it is hard to imagine some of the yelling and arguing that have gone on between me and my daughter. I know that this is normal teenager-parent conflict and I know that it will get better some day, but that is no consolation for right now. No one tells you how painful and difficult parenthood can be. I want to laugh and play with my precious daughter again, just like when she was little. That is why I have made the commitment to be here, and that is why I have forced her to come here with me. I will fight for this relationship as long as it takes.
While this process has been emotionally draining for both of us, I am starting to see signs of improvement. She comes out of the counselor’s private office and walks toward me with a smile on her face. We decide to stop at the grocery store on the way home. While a grocery store experience is usually not the highlight of my day, today it is. We shop together, pick out some food that we both like, and she tells me some things that are going on in her life. For the moment our world is harmonious. Please let this last.