It’s the last night of my “Dirty Thirties” and I am lying in bed eating a coffee mug full of Ice Cream. The last couple of weeks have been emotionally draining and my initial excitement about turning forty sort of fizzled and died. I am generally a pretty upbeat person who tries to see the good and the lessons in every day problems but there have been a couple of days lately that I had a hard time getting out of my pajamas and I curled up and cried.
I have a fourteen year old daughter.
I could stop here and for some of you another word would not have to be typed without you sighing knowingly and feeling empathy for me…a virtual stranger.
One day the little girl who once looked at me like I was more important than the moon and the stars decided she didn’t like me much. It came out in her words, her actions, her body language and her disrespect. It put a Valley between us, a river of tears and hurt ran through it turning compassion into compulsion. I have always been told that you can only be a parent or a friend, not both! I know my child deserves discipline and boundaries. I know that understanding accountability will make her a better person in the future but every day I miss the little girl who hung on my every word, who thought that the sun shone because of me, that I was responsible for rainbows, cherry flavored jello and all the other good things!
I decided to break the parenting rule, I miss being her friend. I found that it was exactly what we both needed. We needed each other. I found out that my scared little girl who likes to think she is all grown up is feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. At fourteen she is so worried about figuring out life and worrying about the future that she is miserable right now. I let my hurt fool me into thinking that she didn’t need me when in reality the more she pushed the more she wanted me to love her back! She wants to know that I will love her no matter what and when times are overwhelming will I just listen and not judge. Will I hold her and laugh with her and be happy for her? Will I treat her like a young lady but love her like a little girl.
Our expectations cannot be so great that our children will constantly fear disappointing us. Teenagers feel a lot of pressure in today’s society to be smart, attractive and popular and in turn we as parents want to do our very best to make our little humans into people they are proud of. There comes a time when we need to allow them to learn from their mistakes instead of making them fear taking chances. We need to be quietly encouraging and supportive, even if we don’t always understand. We have to remind them that life will happen, ready or not and they cannot plan their entire life in advance. We need to remind them that the biggest regrets they will have in life are the chances that they never took. They will make mistakes, we need to tell them that we will love them anyway.
The best we can do is help them to fly and let them decide where to go!
If you are a parent you need to watch this video. Sometimes the hardest thing is watching our children grow up but I believe that they will always need us as much as we need them!