I so cherish the times spent with my daughter.  She is 21. A junior in college with a major and  two minors.  She also works three jobs and has a wonderful boyfriend.   She has grown into such an insightful, thoughtful young woman.   I learn a lot from the conversations we have, however brief.

One of the topics today was my niece, her 14 year old cousin.  My daughter informed me that I needed to be on Snapchat so that I could see just how much of a “hoodlum” my niece  had become because she smokes pot “and other stuff”.

At the time I just let my daughter talk.  I was just so glad that our relationship had gotten back to the point that she would talk to me, openly, that I didn’t think about the situation stepping back, from an outsiders point of view.

I try to do that as much as I can these days.  Step back.  Be less judgmental.  More open.

So in my normal state of wide awake at 2:30Am the conversation came back to me.

I remembered that when my daughter was about her cousins age, it seemed as though she was a “hoodlum” as well.  She hung out with attention seeking girls, and not so favorable boys.  She drank. She smoked pot.  She experimented with cutting herself.  She and I fought.

In looking back to my own young teen years I guess my mother, or adult observers outside of my life, would have called me a “hoodlum” as well.

It’s funny, I used to think my life was such an outlier.  That I was treated so abnormally because of physical, mental and emotional abuse that I couldn’t really compare myself with what I considered “normal” kids.  I was literally grounded and made to stay inside the house if not inside my room for most of my young teenage years.

But, I still snuck out. I still hung out with boys that I knew my parents thought were not so favorable.  I still drank. I still hung out with attention seeking girls. I was still influenced by these kids that I swore were the only people who cared about me, to do some things an upstanding wholesome kid wouldn’t do.  I never smoked pot as a teenager though.  I hung around with kids who did.  I just was too afraid of its effects then. Too afraid that I couldn’t hide it from my parents and would endure more abuse.

So looking back at the three different lives; mine, my daughter’s, and my niece’s, that I’ve had personal experiences with the similarities are enlightening.

Our parenting was different.   Our home lives were different.   Our personalities are different.

Our right of passage into womanhood seems to be on the same path.

Maybe being a “hoodlum” is important to finding out who you are, who you aren’t and what’s important after all.