teenagers!!! {sigh of frustration}

How is it, that I can wake Taylor up in the morning, get myself in the shower, dressed and completely ready ... then go to her room only to find out she's still in the shower?  Was I ever that frustrating?  :)

This is my little girl.  Taylor Rio Stier.  Named after the Duran Duran song, "Rio."  The best baby ever.  Sweet, easy, loving ...

And this is my teenage girl.  She frustrates me, she challenges me, she questions me, she drives me crazy, and she makes me question my skills as a mother on a daily basis.  But ...

She loves me.  And I love her ... dearly.

We were having a conversation the other day about moms.  She asked if I thought so & so, or so & so were good mothers.  I told her I couldn't answer that, and that I could only answer for myself.  Because one day, I would stand before God and have to answer to the 'calls' I made while raising her.  And that I'm doing the best I know how.

She got all wide-eyed and incredulous looking ... she said, "You're doing a great job mom."  And she meant it ...

She sent me a text last night saying that she loves me {she was staying at a friends house}.  We text each other 143 {how many letters spell out each word in 'I love you'}.  I text back that her note meant the world to me and I love her too. 

Her text back?  "I really do mom ..."  {sigh ... and tears}

I realize she may not always feel this way.  And I realize that I frustrate her, I challenge her, I question her, and I drive her crazy on a daily basis.  But I also realize she loves me this way right now, and I'll take it for all it's worth.

When Taylor was younger, I had so many expectations of her.  Unfair expectations, really.  I remember sitting in an introduction to Kindergarten {only parents}, and we had to go around the room saying what we are proud of our child for.  I started sweating bullets, because I honestly couldn't think of something I was proud of.

Taylor has dealt with a lot in her short life.  I won't go into the details, but I believe some of these things make up who she is today ... which is sort of a sullen, quiet, shy, withdrawn {in a sense} kind of girl.

I would see friends that were outgoing, cheerful, not bashful and think, "why can't Taylor be like that?"

I remember once she had on a pair of pants that were far too short.  I wanted her to change into something more presentable {in my opinion}.  She started crying as she went to her room and yelled, "you just want me to be perfect."  Oh, how that struck me!  I listened.

My girls now wear pretty much what they please.  Even if that means they wear pj's to church!  :)

There were two other turning points in my relationship with Taylor ...

1) I saw a video sermon in Sunday school that talked about parenting.  He was listing 10 important facts in parenting.  The last one was:  Believe the best in your children.  Simple as that.

Unfortunately, I've grown a bit untrusting as I've gotten older.  And in my need of not wanting Taylor to ever 'pull a fast one on me,' I didn't trust her.  I didn't take her at face value.  I believed the worst before I believed the best.

I've tried to change that.  Not completely ... I'm not naive enough to think she's never going to lie {Lord knows I've already been proven wrong}.  But I believe our children need to know we've 'got their backs.'  When no one else in this world believes them, they can trust that we do.

And number 2) I also had a deep desire for Taylor to respect me.  Not talk back to me.  Not sass, etc.  And I was very uptight about it.  She asked me once, "why can't you just joke around a little?"  She gave me some examples.  And I listened.

I still don't tolerate straight out disrespect.  But I try to have a little fun in our relationship.  Loosen up a bit, if you will.

Most importantly ... I believe in parenting, we need to listen to our children.  Really listen.  Not be distracted, busy, rushed.

But focused, directed, engaged.  When I can look into my child's eyes and know exactly what's going on in there ... then I'll know I'm the parent God wants me to be.  And that I listened ...


Amy Schaal said...

Trac, this is such a beautiful post that really speaks to all parents. Thank you, 1,000 times.

Anonymous said...

You are an incredible and wise woman. Thanks for sharing what you have learned {in this post and all your others}.

Gretchen said...

Taylor sounds like my daughter. Middle school and high school were a challenge. She was shy and kept a bit to herself. She is now a sophomore in college and she is so out going. She found her place to shine. She and I have been though a lot from a really horrible divorce to a move to Chicago from California. We are the best of friends. We talk all the time through texts and IM's.

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