A friend with a grown son recently told me how he had regretfully admitted to her that during his teen years, he "used her as a punching bag"...
My friend kinda sighed - but it was a happy sigh. She loves her son and her love wasn't lessened or dimmed by his adolescent misplaced fury.
I'm watching my oldest four walk with so much grace through their teen years. Some things haven't changed so much since I was a teen, and in so many ways - I feel like they're making a better way than I ever did... but I'd be lying if I claimed that teen years don't have any pain at all.
I'm clinging to a few truths during these years - and i think these truths are things that have shaped the kind of mama i have become as my littles have grown...
1. Relationship matters more than pretty much everything else. A clean room, a good report card, a spotless driving record, a respectful mouth... these are all beautiful things - but I'm not trading my relationship to get them.
2. Adding to that concept, i really believe that without truth, we can't have relationship. That's one thing i love love love about Neil. He has never been afraid or timid about calling me on my idiocy. He has challenged me, called me out... and all around encouraged me to become a better, more thoughtful person. Without truth, the relationship is often one-sided - or hollow... Bring on truth - even when it hurts.
3. When i think of them, i try to act on it immediately. Sometimes i'll go pray by their door, pick up my phone and send a text, make a note in my calendar to take some action...
4. When they come to me... sometimes i'm touched out, talked out, burned out... but oh, how i want them to come to me. i do my very best to soften my expression, open my posture, make my stance one of welcome... i try to make eye contact. Sometimes in the past, they've tried to share a song with me, or something that moved them - and either i didn't take the time to click that youtube link, or didn't take the mental energy to make any kind of connection as to why it would move them. i'm trying to break those bad habits.
5. When i get my feelings hurt, i don't wanna pout... i wanna have thick skin, a soft heart and a forgiving spirit. i want my loves to feel safe with me - i want to be unreasonable in my affection and exceedingly abundant in my mercy.
When Sloanie was tiny, she climbed softly into our room and softly whined, "It's so hard being three.." And each age has it's difficulties and sorrows... the teen years are no different. My prayer is that i will be the kind of mama that softens the blows and equips my people to be the kind of people who shine a light into darkness.