I’m floundering. This whole raising a daughter so drastically different from myself is perhaps one of my greatest challenges ever. Forget organic chemistry or Nursing school. This is harder.
I’m short-tempered with her arguments. I’m hurt by her lack of appreciation. I go crazy over trying to answer her questions and find her not listening or changing the subject. And the emotions just under the surface (for both of us) just make me want to find a corner to hide. Add to the mix our very very opposite personalities and you have what’s happening in my house and life these days.
I don’t know how to be a mom of an older, more vocally challenging big kid. On one hand she demonstrates great maturity and helpfulness and on the other it is dashed in a lack of understanding and whirlwind emotions. I want to address issues as they happen and biblically, but then I realize she still can’t process it. She’s just mature enough to ask the questions about her world…not yet to grasp any real answers. We’re each neck-deep in a learning process that has made the best mother and daughter duos the worst of enemies until adulthood. I know this. But I don’t want it to happen. I want to be patient and gentle and understanding of her…knowing she can’t be patient and gentle and understanding of me. She can’t even understand herself much less understand me. And if I’m honest, I want to stomp my foot and yell at the unfairness of it all. It’s a never-ending emotional roller coaster ride as I succeed in one moment only to fail in the next. It’s trying to hold in my mind that she’s in the awkward in-between stage…not a little kid but not a teenager. Her whole world is beginning to be processed and I don’t want her to go to get her answers from someone else because I’m harsh or impatient or just don’t want her to talk. This fear riddles me with guilt. I fail so often.
Underneath it all is letting go of my little girl. Soon she will be making her own choices and failing. Will I be there to offer her grace? If I do, will she receive it? While she was little I could mask the idol of parental control but now it’s there to see. I can’t make her what I want her to be. I can’t perfectly protect her. I can’t even ensure if I do everything right (which I won’t) that she will be the rare teen who doesn’t despise her parents. I can only pray, love, discipline, forgive and seek her forgiveness when I sin against her. I can only trust in the One who made her and gave her to me…knowing we’d be here. There is grace and forgiveness in the failing and the continual pursuit of learning to be more Christ-like in my parenting and my life. It’s discipleship in the trenches…for both of us.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:6 ESV)