Monday, August 29, 2016

Reality Check

 So this is really how I like to think of my 19 year old. Yup, about 5 years old, dressed up in her favorite princess costume, headed to go and see Beauty and the Beast live. Below is a pic of her and her other two gorgeous sisters this past Easter. And yes, I did make them dress up in similar outfits, because again, it gives me that piece of fairy-tale, it is a perfect life that I so desperately long for, yet never have been able to achieve. (let me know if you have, because I want to know your secret!)
 I got an ugly dose of reality this summer, one I really was not prepared for. I was face to face with a teenager who is used to freedom at college, not really ready to be back home with rules and curfews. A teenager who really loves to party and is now, much to my dismay smoking, among other things, and really doesn't have much use for her parents, except for us to pay for stuff. The rational, semi-healthy side of me says, "it's a phase, you did stuff your mom would have died over too" (sorry mom, at least you never found out!) and the other part of me wants to jump into what I see as her drowning in the depths of the ocean (even though I am terrified of the depths of the ocean) and rescue her from what I see as mistakes being made.

Our girl is SMART, going to school on a scholarship, and she works hard and her professors love her, and so do her friends.This past weekend I moved her back to college for her sophomore year. She was dying to get back and I was happy for her because she attends and amazing university in one of the most beautiful locations in the country, but I have to admit that I was a bit melancholy at the thought of not seeing her on a daily basis for several months. Although she is not very outwardly affectionate, she is my first born, and of course, one of the true loves of my life. Yesterday as we were finishing up with her move in, I was slapped in the face with the harsh reality that those feelings are just not mutual, and I guess that is normal. She is supposed to someday fall in love (hopefully with someone who loves God and her beyond measure, and treats her like gold, and if he were a genius, that would be a bonus!), be gaga over her own kids, and live a great life. I have to admit that I drove home alone and cried most of the way, for 4 1/2 hours on and off, no joke, and then proceeded to smother the two "babies" (13 & 16) that I have left at home once I arrived. I then crawled into my bed, with an extra large glass of wine, watched some football and fell asleep feeling quite sorry for myself.

This morning as I was working and going over my notes from an event I attended, I ran across something that was said in one of my classes. The quote reads "If you are willing to suffer, then you will be willing to do the work of God." This really hit home with me. Suffering is just part of parenthood, plain and simple. Anything we truly do for the Kingdom of God will involve suffering, and as parents, we truly do not have a more important job than that of raising our kids. Truth be told, they are just temporarily on loan to us anyway. I know it is time for me to STEP BACK (my friend Clay, who has no children of his own affectionately calls me a helicopter mom, he has no idea what that really is, but I know reading this will make him happy), and just keep praying. We have loved her deeply, raised her well, given her good values, and now, it is time to give her the space to make her own way. She loves us just the way she is supposed to, and I am grateful God chose to loan her out to us.

So to all of you parents out there who may be struggling with this, you are not alone. Feel your feelings and then move on. This is the circle of life, and we are along for the wild ride, so we should at least try to enjoy it!