I had dreams and ideas 16, 17, 18 years ago: I was going to be a GREAT parent. I mean, my parents were okay, I knew I was loved … but I was going to do it BETTER. My kids were going to be polite and respectful and we weren’t going to yell and I was always going to be kind to them and we were going to be incredibly close and we’d always put God first and we’d sing songs and bake cookies …
Ha ha ha.
The older I get, the more I understand (and appreciate) my parents … they were just trying to do the best they knew how. They didn’t live in the age of blog posts that gave you “10 Ways to Incorporate Love and Acceptance in Your Family” or sermons and books on “Growing Kids God’s Way”. I’ll preface this with the fact that I am THANKFUL, very THANKFUL, for bloggers or authors or pastors who write these things and share what they know, what they’ve learned, what they glean from God’s Word, but in the end, we are all just trying the best we can. Right??
Tonight my older girl is going off to a slumber party with her basketball team. It’s supposed to be a night of smiles and friends and food and giggling … and I sent her off in tears. Mom Fail #1,348,292.
Part of it is HER fault … I woke this child up extra early today knowing that she had to pack for a sleepover and put the finishing touches on teacher and classmates’ gifts. But she forgot something: something VERY important. And as I went to tell her good-bye tonight – after not only skipping dinner to go to the store to buy Rotel queso dip fixings and chips for her party but also sitting through her ballgame AND having worked all day AND not eating a proper lunch because I had a few Christmas gifts to buy during my lunch hour – she says, “Mom, I don’t have ______.”
ME: (((( blank stare))))
Her: “Um, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-OM, I don’t have my ________.”
ME: “And so………………….if you really need ________, then you can come home with me and have ______ but I’m NOT – I repeat – NOT going out now to buy and bring you ________ at your slumber party.”
Her: ((((tears))))) Mom, don’t YELL at me.
(for the record, I wasn’t yelling, I was being ADAMANT. There’s a difference.)
We talked it through, and she’s going to survive without _______ … and I made it a point to hug her and say “I love you.” But why oh why do *I* feel so badly?!?! I’m NOT a better parent than my parents … In fact, tonight I feel worse. Shucks, Daniel’s mom probably would have gone and gotten _____ AND some chocolate bars to lovingly bring to her daughter who is at a sleepover in the next town over, at the expense of her own rest – with a smile on her lips because she could serve her child. (my mother-in-law is a saint, by the way …)
I’m sure there are ways I could have handled it better, and I *know* my daughter could have handled it better. But why don’t we?! I’m so so so tired to this pattern.
I guess I need to google a good blog post about “10 Ways to Communicate Effectively and Sympathetically with Your Teen Daughter”.
Someone, please tell me we will survive the next 3 years ….