In our house, we're in the midst of the tough pre-teen and teen years. The easy days are few and far between. If it's not one child having a crisis, it's the other. Hormone-induced tears are a part of nearly every day. Some days I'm my girls' best friend, and others, I'm the worst mom in the world. Being a mom in this season is tough. You never really know which kid is going to walk through your door after school -- the happy, care-free one or the moody, the world is ending one. There are days when I really would like to throw up my hands and just walk away.
But these two girls? They are the living extension of my heart. They are precious and amazing. They are mine. And there is so much they don't know about what goes through my heart and mind as I parent them through these turbulent years. Here's what I wish I they knew:
- I really don't like disciplining you. I only do it because I want you to learn to make wise decisions. I want you to know how to exercise self-control and think about the feelings of other people.
- When you're curled up in my arms sobbing your eyes out because of something someone else did or said, look up. There are tears in my eyes, too. Because I remember what it was like to be your age. Even though you think I don't understand, I really do. I was your age once, and mean kids have existed since the beginning of time.
- When someone treats you badly, I'm going to tell you that you need to forgive them and move on. But even as I'm saying those words, I'm fighting my own battle to do the same.
- I don't just make up rules to make your life miserable. I make rules to keep you safe and to teach you boundaries.
- I've never done this parenting thing before. I'm going to make mistakes. Please know that I'm doing my best.
- I am always praying for you because even though I mess up sometimes, God never does.
- I am trying to give you the space you need to become the person God wants you to be, but it's hard. In my mind's eye, you're still my little girl.
- I am always on your side -- even when it seems like I'm not. I always want what's best for you. I always want you to succeed. I always want you to be happy. Sometimes, though, those things only come through tough lessons.
- Letting you fail at something is one of the hardest things for me to do. But I know that if I always step in, you will never learn the lessons that failure can teach you. Just know that when you fail, my heart hurts as much as yours does.
- I will always love you. No matter how much you screw up or how much you push me away, I will always love you. I will always be there to pick you up. When the days are long and the crisis hits, I will always be a safe haven for you.