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.