In Between: Adolescence

Raw. Mothering an adolescent daughter is like ripping a scab off your soul. My daughter’s agonized questions are existential: why do people suffer? What could possibly be the answer to this? A question I have asked since my own adolescence, more and more intently with each passing decade of my life, with each new encounter I have with the multiple varieties of human suffering.

Joseph Luzzi’s In a Dark Wood chronicles his young and pregnant wife’s death in an automobile accident. Luzzi, a Dante scholar, writes: My reading of Dante had always been deep and personal, but when I found myself in a dark wood, his words became a matter of life and death.

During both my children’s births, I felt myself poised between life and death, the scrim of our everyday world pushed aside in this small, sacred space. Surely, part of the keenness of adolescence is its odd pivotal place. Half in the clouds of childhood, not yet in the forest of adulthood, adolescence, for this brief (and yet simultaneously very long) moment, spins between these two realms.