Thursday, November 8, 2012
parental growing pains
I have four kids. Four beautiful, self sufficient, amazingly intuitive, giving, funny young adults who are the joys of my life. Daughters on both ends and boys in the middle. It has been nine years since I raised a teen aged girl. Boys are hard in the little stage and easy as teens. Girls are the opposite. I forgot that. I am rusty on this whole teen girl drama stuff. In fact, I want to opt out this time on all of it. I think I more than paid my dues with the first daughter. She turned out OK, we both survived it, and she is now a loving nanny to two little boys who have a mommy dying of brain cancer. Seeing the capacity she has for love, the patience she shows these children, lets me know I did a good job with her. Hearing that my son has gone over and mowed my dad's lawn and done some household tasks for him that he is not able to do anymore, fills me with pride. The fact that all my kids are so kind and respectful to elderly lets me know I taught them a sense of tradition and reespect for elders.
I don't want to do the girl drama again. I just don't think I have it in me one more time. I remember my own teen years, so filled with angst until I turned 16. I wouldn't live those years over again for anything. But here I am, going through them again with my 15 year old daughter. Again I have to teach a young woman that manipulation is not love. That a real friend will love you no matter what, and will always be there for you. She won't call you a slut behind your back to all your friends and then deny it when everyone tells you she said it. She won't play divide and conquer with your posse and split the group just so she can be "right" in a situation where she is clearly wrong. She is learning that it is OK to be different, to not fit in is actually considered cool when you grow up. She is learning that your heart can actually break, and you do survive it. I want to skip past all of this. I don't want to hurt along with her, as I did with her sister.
Teaching your children how to be adults is by far one of the most difficult lessons we give as parents. I hope I manuver through these turbulent emotional waves with the same grace as I did before. I hope I have learned a few things in my years, and that somewhere in that beautiful stubborn head of hers, she hears me. It is only a few years of my life. After she graduates, I will become cool again and she will want to spend time with me, she will seek out my advice and actually care about my opinions. It is such a little space of my life in the grand scheme of it all... but today, in this very moment, I want to put up my hand and stop the next saga and say "I gave at the office" and shut the door.
Lord, please give me strength to handle this thing I never saw coming when I held that precious bundle in my arms the first moments of her life and promised I would be there for her always. I am here, I would never abandon her.... but just for today, can I be the little kid, and stomp my feet and say "I don't wanna do it!!!"