If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

Add My Link to Your Site

Add My Link to Your Site
<a href="http://parentingconfessions.blogspot.com/"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Fvw3azj43OY/Sf0FVoGx5lI/AAAAAAAAACg/ywmB5Y2tfVE/S201/button.png" width="149" height="201" border="0" /></a>

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Picture Perfect

You'd have thought I was lining her up in front of a firing squad.

On second thought, perhaps that would have been a more welcome fate.

This cruel reality was far, far worse. Torture captured for all posterity.

What heinous act was I requiring my preteen daughter to perform?

She had to take a photo with (brace yourself) ...... her mother! In front of her friends! (Gasp!! Oh, the inhumanity of it all.)

Let me explain.

This past Sunday, I -- along with an awesome leadership team -- launched a six-week mother/daughter Bible Study at my church.

From the outset, the enthusiasm of the mothers was obvious. Some of the girls -- including my daughter -- well .... not quite so much.

That was painfully apparent when we asked them to pose for a mother/daughter picture as they arrived.

I heard the pained whispers: "This is so embarrassing!" and "Do we have to?"

I may actually have to cut and paste the photo of Molly and I in order to make it appear as if we are standing in the same airspace.

Later, as I was delivering some opening words of wisdom (?), some looked positively --- bored.

I'm convinced that aspiring stand-up comics should have to perform in front of middle schoolers as part of their training. I have yet to discover a tougher crowd.

It's not easy being in limbo between "little girl" and "young woman."

Wanting to be independent, but feeling insecure. Needing direction, but wanting to chart your own path.

That evening, as they decorated prayer journals, it struck me that several of the girls had put Disney princess stickers on their books alongside the more "grown-up" and teen-looking decorations.

One foot in childhood, the other in womanhood.

Now that I'm older (I didn't say old!), I can sometimes forget all the mixed-up emotions that dominate adolescence. I can easily grow impatient, frustrated and demand that she "grow up."

The fact of the matter? She is. And growing up is a messy business -- for both mothers and daughters. It's requiring far more wisdom and grace than I feel capable of giving.

In a moment of weakness last week I asked a friend, "How can I be leading a Mother/Daughter Bible Study when my own efforts to guide and support my daughter seem so hopelessly inadequate?"

She responded, "That is exactly why you are starting this study. We can't do it on our own. We need each other. Moms can't do it alone."

Supporting each other while we're diving to our knees.

Sounds picture perfect.
Melinda

11 comments:

  1. Middle school is a tough age. It's almost like you must learn the ropes together. So hang on!

    And smile:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. And after that, Melinda, you have even more to look forward to: a middle school BOY!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is hard for mothers, but I think even more difficult for daughters.That's easy for me to say now Ha My daughter now has a 12 going on 20 daughter and I am just smiling. Sorry! Good post Melinda...,Keep encouraging one another. That's Scriptural.:-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just love your blog! Thanks!! I have 2 tiny daughters of my own, and am already anxious for the ADOLESCENT YEARS!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post Melinda! I will be praying for you, Mollie, your ladies and their girls. I applaud you for making your relationship with you daughter a priority. She will be grateful for your efforts and love when she is older :)
    Hang in there girl!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel like I have a teenager already and she is only 10. Yesterday she came home with the book Twilight. I asked my sister who already read book, and she said not to let her read it. So I took it away and today, I returned to the librarian stating I did not think it was appropiate reading material for my daughter. She did not say a word. Just took the book from my hands and continued talking to another parent. We need to be good role models for our daughter and provide healthy outlets for them, good literature, bible studies are perfect. I will be praying for you both.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm sure it'll turn out well...! Take these 6 weeks as a time to get to know your daughter better (although I'm quite sure u know her pretty well)..
    I think deep in her heart (she might not be willing to admit - I'll not too..haha)...she's happy tat u take the time to be with her...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Having a 13 year old daughter, I can totally relate! One minute they are miss independent and the next they need you--and you are supposed to intuitively know which from moment to moment.

    We get along really well, but I do need to try to remember all the hormones and angst when she pulls out the crankiness...it's not easy being her age.

    My advice...don't TOUCH her hair--especially in public. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely honest post. I too have had the blessing of teaching our Young Women at church and being looked at like an alien visitor! There is much strength in unity for us Mums as we build on the common beliefs we all share, as parents of growing children. Thanks, I really enjoy your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanking you once again for this very timely post.....as I struggle with all of this myself......

    ReplyDelete
  11. Melinda~ Last Sunday was fantastic...kind of reminded me of mountain climbing :-) Thinking maybe doing bonding activities (those notebooks look great!) first will assist in getting the girls to open up...we are thoroughly looking forward to this week! Thank you for your sweet spirit and willingness to facilitate. See you Sunday with yummy snacks!

    ReplyDelete

Now it's your turn to "Come Clean"! Tell me what you think! I love to hear from you!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin