Author: Takisha Miller
I had a lot of fun as a teen. Perhaps too much fun. My mom let me do anything I wanted. Believe me, anything. She hardly ever told me no. To most girls that sounds like a dream come true. For me, it was a nightmare.
I liked to party. Dressing up in something cute and spending the night dancing to my favorite music, flirting with cute guys, and hanging out was my thing. I couldn’t wait for Friday nights and the weekends, because I knew I was going to turn up – and I always did! I was truly the life of the party and everybody knew it.
I used to come home late, like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning – sometimes later, or not at all. Whether it was a school night or not didn’t matter because I didn’t have a curfew. My mom didn’t care, because she was the life of the party too. Sometimes when I would get home she’d still be out at the club, drunk, with one of her boyfriends, or sleep.
It’s not that she didn’t love me, because she did – just in her own way. She made sure I had a roof over my head, food, clothes, and stayed in school. She just wanted to do her thing and have fun, and sometimes she lived as if she didn’t even have a child to raise. I don’t even know if she truly wanted me.
She didn’t help me with my homework, ask me about my day, or know who my friends were. When I participated in school plays or concerts she was never there for any of our performances. I never hated her, because she did the best she could. Her own childhood was no walk in the park and I couldn’t hold that against her, but that didn’t stop it from hurting me.
Sometimes my friends complained when we hung out. Their moms were texting or calling to check up on them and it got on their nerves. I laughed right along with them, but I honestly envied them. I wished my mom would check on me when I was out. I wished she’d scold me when I missed curfew, or made me change clothes when what I had on was inappropriate. I wish she’d show up at my school every now and then, or pack my lunch with handwritten notes like some of the girls I knew.
While we were partying I smiled and laughed and tried to fill the hole in my heart. After the parties were over I left, still empty, to a lonely place I called home. A place that had no boundaries or restraint. A place where two strangers called “mother” and “daughter” lived.
Now that I’m a mother myself, I want to do things differently. My daughter is still a toddler now, but when she gets older she will have boundaries. She will know what “no” sounds like. She will hear “I love you” on a regular basis. She will have a curfew. When she goes out, I will check on her, make sure I know who she’s hanging out with, and be a good example for her.