Walking into her room told the tale of our tween age / middle age angst.
I’m in a season of letting go. I want spare, clean . . . space.
She seems to thrive on clutter.
I’ve developed a reverence for time that makes it sacred.
And she, well she’s barely aware of it.
Time is for wasting and there are never enough hours for sleep. She, of the Taylor Swift generation, could sleep all day. She of the rolling eyes and slumped shoulder attitude. It’s hard to know how to reach her. She’s sensitive and fragile and everything in my natural mind says stay far away. My spirit however says something different.
No matter how far she tries to push me away. My spirit says keep close.
Leggings and jackets and books, a lone glove, and a Snickers wrapper strewn across her bed tell the story of her carefree life and the mess of it all; the direct rebellion to any semblance of order I try to maintain tells our story. We’re oil and water, the last minute glimpse of a setting sun and the mysterious rise of a full moon. Bless her heart, she’s got a pre-menopausal mama. The cocktail of hormones that make mothers and daughters a little too much alike have begun to eclipse her in alien-like fashion. The princess wants to be queen. I’m not having it.
Too often my words hit her the wrong way. I’m too harsh, too honest . . . I don’t have enough time.
It’s funny how the older they get the more they need you.
I imagined these years differently. I imagined solo travel and an easy connection with someone I somewhat understood. We have all that, but it’s rare. It happens in the odd pockets of space where I haven’t offended her. And I manage to do that . . . all the time. More often than not my words have hijacked our precious attempts at mother/daughter bonding. And then . . . silence. Sometimes it’s easier to shut myself off. Let us both slither off to lick our wounds in the privacy of a virtual world. Facebook for me, Get Ready with Me videos on YouTube for her.
With us it’s all about attitude and action. Her attitude and my action. Or lack of it. I clam up.
In rare moments of stillness we have tea. Chai or green, raspberry . . . it doesn’t matter. It’s a peaceful ritual to help me connect with my girl. A warm bag of herbs mingling in a huge ceramic mug is the perfect first step on a road I hope leads to her heart. A little honey might do the trick.
She’s changing. This is the tricky spot where I can bond with her forever or encourage a deep wedge – a chasm of misunderstanding and hurt feelings. I could lose her. I’m changing. This is the tricky spot where I too often get lost in the wanderings of my midlife heart.
In biblical times she’d be of marriageable age. Perhaps promised from birth to wed a family friend. The bible doesn’t tell me what to do with a tween age girl beyond loving Jesus and preparation for marriage. When I think about a model for a relationship between mother and daughter I turn to the story of Naomi and Ruth.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t make me leave you, for I want to go wherever you go and to live wherever you live; your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God . . .
Ruth 1:16 (The Living Bible)
I want my daughter to love me like Ruth loved Naomi.
I want her to choose me. I want that kind of connection. That kind of respect. That kind of devotion.
I want her to trust me enough to consider my opinion when it’s time for her to marry. To have that, I’ll have to hold her heart gently. I’ll have to make sure what she sees lines up with what I’m saying. I’ll have to model what it’s like to be a godly woman – a guide and example of what love looks like.
I can be a true north, a constant amongst all the things that change.
Ruth could only model trust and devotion because she first saw it in Naomi. Ruth could only model the delicate balance of what to say and when, how to wield words with wisdom, how to apply action to faith – because of Naomi. And Ruth learned sacrifice – the ultimate surrender and beauty of putting another before yourself. Naomi taught Ruth how to love. And Ruth responded.
Ruth learned to love by being loved.
Friends have shared with me the intense frustration they feel toward their tween and teen aged daughters. It hurts to hear. It hurts more to feel pangs of kinship as I struggle through a relationship with my own girl. So I have to get this right.
I’ve got to push for the more excellent way.
I want to push past my feelings to mother her anyway. I have to.
She deserves it. She deserves a Naomi.
[Tweet “I want her to cling to the Christ she sees in me.”]
With Him we’ll get through this. In Jesus name.
Will you tell me your stories of life with your tween age girl?