Parenting is so hard.
Anyone who tells you its wonderful and blissful and full of Kodak moments is either 1. Not doing it right (sadly, this is the case most of the time) or 2. Off in La La land and full of BS.
I have just discovered that one of the hardest things to do is to let go.
Of course I know this! But knowing it and doing it are two completely different things.
Something my friend Candice and I laugh and laugh about came from doing this bible study years ago. Despite being a fairly traditional Catholic, classical music and solemn prayers and all that, I really loved Beth Moore’s bible studies. I even went as far as to watch some of her videos. She has a real gift of communication, for sure and she made me laugh more than once. I remember thinking at that moment that we were all sort of after the same thing no matter what our religious preference.
Anyway, she had this talk about God’s will once, and how she realized that sometimes when we think we are doing God’s will, and truly relinquishing all the power and decisions over to Him, that we really aren’t. We still let the human, ugly, controlling, crazy side of us rule our heads and hearts when we should be completely letting go.
She had a great metaphor. God driving the cart that is our lives, directing us by our faith in Him. When we should be sitting in the back of the cart, too often we make bargains, (and this is still her metaphor, by the way.) “God, I’m totally fine with you driving the cart, lead me where you want me to be, but please, just let me be the gloves with which you hold the reins.”
Yeah. Just think about that for a minute.
So, I’m at a crossroad with Abby. Dad spoke with her last night about the weekend, and Abby true to form didn’t want to talk. She likes to not talk and focus on other stuff thinking issues might work themselves out. It’s actually not a bad strategy, some of the time. It lets her avoid unnecessary drama and read her books or focus on school … or sleep. Finally though, he got her to open up and basically what he told me, the part that I hadn’t either heard or hadn’t wanted to hear, was that she was unhappy.
And yes, I know most teenagers are unhappy and that their emotions scatter like dandelion fluff at the slightest breeze, but when he told me, I knew it in my gut that I was part of that unhappiness. Not necessarily the cause of it because I think that comes from the painful process of growing up and owning one’s decisions, but definitely I have added to it.
And that makes me very sad.
Sad that instead of being right all this time, that I have somehow, when it really mattered, been wrong and that she felt trapped because of it. The gloves that I have been wearing as God directs her cart were really choking the horses. Pulling back on the reins and causing a standstill.
So, I relinquished the grip. Told her from now on, I will continue to be her biggest fan. I will continue to cook and drive. I will continue to pay the bill and take them out for biscuits after practice. I will love her as much as I always have because that will never change, and I will support her decisions by not making comments.
I will not, however, wake her up for practice. I will not remind her of practice times. I will not sign her up for meets, and gave her the user and password for her to sign herself up. I will not schedule lessons with her coach, but that he is willing any time to teach her anything she wants to know, she need only schedule the lesson and I will get her there somehow someway and will shop during, not watch. I love to watch her swim, but if it makes her nervous, I will step out, or I will at the very least not let her know I’m watching.
I told her I was sorry. I told her I loved her, and that I would never force her to do anything, but that she needed to make some grown up decisions.
Parenting is so hard.