On occasion, I feel the speed at which my daughter has grown and the only appropriate response is to sit back and be in the moment with her.
Last night was no exception.
It’s her senior year of high school. She’s highly active in ROTC and in helping other students succeed and promote within that activity. With all of the senior year activities added onto the regular demand of the school year, I am incredibly thankful that at the present time, I don’t have a second job because it frees me up to honestly live life with her this year.
I very much look forward to the time we get to have together. We talk and we laugh. We go shopping together (most of the time) and most days we get to spend at least a couple of hours together before she begins her bedtime routine.
My daughter is old enough and grown enough to occasionally be mistaken as my little sister…or maybe that’s the snarky way we interact. (If I could, I would put right here that emoji with a half-smile which knows completely the happiness in my heart and the fond recollection of our silly time together.)
The other day we went to get two items from the grocery store and as is our routine, we go through the regular “manned” lines (as opposed to the self-check) and talk with the cashiers. I can’t even be sure of the comment that she made at the time but just that she had been feeling like her perfectly normal witty self, at ease with me and not particularly attentive to those around us.
As it is sometimes mistaken, the cashier asked if we were sisters (I think mostly because of the teasing banter going on between the two of us) and I laughed! Between the time when I said, “Actually she is my daughter” and laughing–I stole a look at her that filled my heart with laughter! Her hands were on her hips and she was shaking her head. As if to express with her body that she couldn’t believe she was hearing that…again!
I turned to finish my transaction and the cashier looked at me and said, “Is she an only child?” I let her know that she was and she said… “Uh, huh” she said, “…spoiled…” And I glanced over at my girl and just belted out laughter! Oh my gosh, my daughters reaction! If her jaw wasn’t connected, she would have been picking it up off the ground! The sincere shock on her face as she was called spoiled made me laugh ridiculously hard! Even as I write about it I have a big grin and am quietly chuckling to myself recalling the mental picture—oh, how I love my child!
In the not too distant past, we didn’t have even close to the relationship that we enjoy today. I get to write this day about a common place kind of love with my daughter that doesn’t seem extraordinary or a miracle in any way…though to me it is…it’s a breathtaking, awe inspiring miracle…and I stand in amazement!
About a year and a half ago, I would not have been the one to have the privilege of hearing her thoughts, desires, feelings and hopes. She would not have seen me as someone who held those things as important to me. Knowing I longed for more, I shared my heartbreak over that dilemma with an incredibly loving and beautiful friend—she helped me (almost daily at times) to enter into relationship with my daughter in a way that I was never given an example of in my own life.
My friend helped me to see my girl wanted many of the core things that I wanted. Safety. Love. Support. Belonging. Acceptance. She helped me understand that in order for my girl to share her heart, she needed to feel safe. My daughter needed to know that when she talked with me and shared even a glimpse of what she thought or felt…that she would be heard. She needed to know that even though I may not like what she had to say that I would be a person she could know would listen and not use anything she shared to either hurt her or minimize what she felt.
My girl needed to know that I would come right alongside her. Sometimes that looked like defending her or showing my respect for her with others. It was letting her know that she was not alone and didn’t need to fight her battles by herself. Sometimes it looked like support and encouragement. Sometimes it looked like including her in with making more decisions that had impact on our family.
I knew that I wanted her to know that care for her and that she is important to me. So rather than just saying that I love her and that she is valuable to me…I also showed her that I heard those things that she enjoys doing and we go and do them…as much as possible because this girl is much more physically fit than me—Lol!
I want her to see that she is accepted, that she occupies a prominent place in my life and I don’t want her to question that she is deeply loved. Sometimes that also looks like tenderly entering into a place where I see or hear that there is wrong believing…and because of her personality…gently unpacking the layers of lies. Helping my girl to see and recognize the lie and replacing it with God’s truth.
So today, I bask in the joy of the moment. Whether that looks like laughter at in a cashier’s line at the grocery store, watching a movie, singingexuberantly (though on key is another question) or pressing into those places that helps both of us grow…I’m wonderfully grateful for each one I get to have with her.