My oldest daughter and I seem to be butting heads lately. It isn’t a major issue between us, thankfully, but rather several small things (usually misunderstandings) that sneak in to our days and take root so that over the course of a day we’ve gone from a pleasant “good morning” and happy chatting over breakfast to a tearful “good night” after a day of bruised feelings.
When we are getting along, it is pretty fantastic! She’s really a cool kid to hang out with. I’m blessed as a parent, and I don’t forget that, even on those days when it seems like all we do is run over each others hearts.
Some of it is her, these prickly in-between years and all the changes and challenges that they bring.
Some of it is me, forgetting how to speak her language, forgetting that even big kids are still kids.
I don’t think she means to come across as disrespectful as she does at times and I know I don’t mean to come across as harsh. It is more than a little humbling to hear my own sarcastic tone mimicked back to me.
Her growing pains are a vivid reminder at how much growing up I still have left to do myself, even at almost forty years old.
Perhaps we both need to extend each other some grace, but I need to remember that in order to be the good example, I have to extend that forgiveness first, even when (especially when) I don’t feel like it.
I need to remember not to take the eye rolls and her muttering under her breath personally, in the same way I don’t take my two year old’s temper tantrums personally because I know this is a phase, a plotted course on the road to growing up.
But, it isn’t easy. (Dark chocolate was made for moms of tweens and toddlers, right?)
And so today I want to remember to lecture less and listen more.
Today I want to radiate warmth to my child, even if she’s giving me the cold shoulder.
Today I want to be quicker to forgive, more understanding, more patient.
Today I want, very simply, to try and remember what it was like to be eleven years old.
At the end of the day, I want our “good night” to be as heartfelt as our “good morning” even if there are a hundred imperfect moments in between.
And, if today is not a peaceful day, if we lose our way despite my best efforts, then I promise to let the failures go, forgive us both, and try again tomorrow and for all the tomorrows after. Even if I run out of dark chocolate.
Are any of you currently parenting in the trenches with toddlers and tweens? Tell me, friends, how are you getting through the days with grace and warmth? What do you remind yourself of during the challenging seasons of parenting?