This Is Why I Did That…..
One of my daughters, bless her heart, feels compelled to explain why she does what she does every time she does something that doesn’t turn out as planned. (That is a nice way of saying every time she slips up and quite often when she doesn’t.) This tendency is something we tolerate at home, but it doesn’t go over very well out in the real world. Have you ever heard that expression You have to pick your battles? My daughter doesn’t understand this concept at all.
I have spent many hours trying to explain that sometimes it is better to just let things go. Sometimes it is better to just say, “I messed up. I’m sorry. Forgive me. Please give me another chance.” She might be willing to actually say these things eventually, but not before taking her listeners through a very detailed explanation of why she did what she did.
A fine line…..
To most people there is a VERY FINE LINE between explaining and making excuses. Unfortunately, in this area she and I are a lot alike. Shocking, I know. I smile sadly as I write this because I know that she will face unnecessarily rough waters because she is absolutely convinced that she cannot control this aspect of her personality. It does not do any good to explain to her that when she gets out into the real world, most employers are not interested in why she did what she did. All they’ll want to hear is that she has learned from what happened and that it won’t happen again. (I guess this is a lesson that she will have to learn through time and painful experience.)
Who gave permission for my kids to grow up?
She is an adult now as well, and for some unknown reason, my husband feels compelled to point out that I cannot control her anymore. (He stops short of saying, “Don’t be a nagging, smothering mother.”) and that she has to learn this lesson on her own. I hate it when he makes sense! In case you don’t remember, I am a recovering Control Freak. The twelve-step program was not very effective, but it has taught me not to turn on my husband and choke him when I’d actually like to choke my daughter. She smiles at me, sweetly oblivious to the fact that I have years of valuable experience for her to learn from, and that she should realize what an oracle of wisdom I am! Grrr!
I used to think it was hard to be a mom when the girls were little. Now that they are adults, I’m discovering it is a thousand times more difficult while I watch them flex their wings of independence. I feel as if I’m at the end of a runway sometimes holding those little glowing, orange-coned flashlights trying to wave them off from the direction they are headed, and I’m invisible as they soar over me into what I perceive as danger, but they see as butterflies and rainbows.
I’ve discovered raising the kids was just the warm-up act, and now we have to let go just as they start to realize that maybe life isn’t quite the picture they thought it was. We tried to warn them, but something went wrong. During all the years of adorable cuteness, we built a protective barrier around them to shield them from the reality that life can be hard, and people can be cruel.
A good foundation…..
The foundation that we give to our kids is so important. I am thankful that our parents, Mark’s and mine, worked hard to teach us the importance of clinging to God and drawing from Him the spiritual and ethical practices that they, our parents, exhibited in front of us on a daily basis, regardless of what went on around them. That is a legacy that my husband and I treasure and hope someday will be something our girls will recognize and treasure as well. It stems from a long line of Godly parents and homes.
I am hoping that the Danielle will remember the times that I told her of God’s love and not the time I fussed at her when she was nine for getting out of the car causing all the doors to lock while it was running (as if she had anything to do with it). I’m hoping Stephanie remembers the times I took her to Vacation Bible School and not the time I screamed at her when she was twelve for moving a tissue box. (I know what you’re thinking, and no—I’m not a screamer—at least not all the time.) I hope rather that both girls focus on the times when they snuggled in the bed with me, and we talked about their day, or when they watched a movie with their Dad, went to a concert with us and heard about Jesus and His love, when we read the Bible and talked about God. I hope they remember all the times we prayed for them, loved on them, and held them when their hearts were breaking.
I realize that not everyone is raised in a godly home. But I have no control over that, and in the end, all we can do is let them, our children, go and hope that they will love God as much as—or better than—we did. Life, as I have told my girls time and time again, is always about choice. Everyone has choices to make. And whether you are raised in a godly home or not, you can choose how to live—just as my girls will choose how to live. They will make their own choices and their own set of mistakes. As they do, I will continue to love and pray for them with all my heart. I will storm the gates of heaven on their behalf, and I will beg God to keep them safely in His hand—just as my parents did for me! And just as Mark’s parents did for him.
In the meantime, I will also pray for you as you read this blog, even though I may not know you. So, God bless and keep you all.
Such a true reflection of how i’m feeling with my teenagers right now as they gain more freedom everyday! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Debbie, for your comment. Parenting is not easy!
Just about every day I thank God for my kids & grandchildren! I agree, you do have to let them grow up and let them go. I’m enjoying watching my children raise their own children. My husband and I were commenting just the other day about how interested we are in our children’s lives and how they really have no clue how much we care.
I enjoy your insights, Robin!
Thank you, Joy, for your comment. For Mark and I, though not always easy, having adult children still at home has been a blessing. Stephanie and Danielle have seen the reality and sacrifice it takes to provide for a family. It has spurred them on to sacrifice for the benefit of all as well. I realize that this does not always happen and we are deeply thankful to God for this. Watching the girls come to appreciate the benefits of being in a family (and working through the difficulties as well) has been quite a journey and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!