(I wrote this several months ago and it was published on another site, but, I wanted to share it with you today. We all have those days when we wonder if we are messing up as parents. But, by the grace of God we keep going)
It seems like my daughter has turned into a young woman overnight. Any day now I’ll wake up and find that she has surpassed my 5’4 frame. Her deep brown hair falls against her ivory cheeks and her green eyes sparkle and dance when she laughs. And her freckles? I love them. I tell her she reminds me of a doll I once played with, Strawberry Shortcake.
I love to watch her with her friends and watch her play soccer. She’s sure of herself and she’s not afraid. She has a confidence I didn’t know when I was her age.
I wonder how she got this way. I look back to the girl I once was. I look at my inadequacies as a mother and worry she’ll turn out like me. I’ve taken so long to learn the important things. Sometimes I worry I’m not equipped to help her reach her dreams.
She’s got great dreams, this girl of mine. The kinds of dreams a mom dreams for her daughter. She wants to take career advancement and college classes in high school and graduate as a junior. “Maybe I’ll go to culinary school, or even be a teacher,” she tells me. “I want a large family. I already have their names picked out.” She goes on to tell me the names of my eight future grandchildren. I smile and tell her we better start saving for the “spoil the grandchildren fund”.
When I look at my girl I now see a young woman who doesn’t need my advice or instruction as often as she once did. I see hope and a future filled with good things. With God sized things. I am reminded that she will be gone soon. And with her goes what we have instilled in her. I pray that in these next four years I can still make a difference. That there’s still time to right the things I’ve done wrong. To sow words of love where I’ve spoken harshly. To heal the wounds I’ve caused.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
(Proverbs 15:1, N.K.J.V.)
Sometimes I find myself longing for the day when I can send her to the store when I don’t feel like going. I know she’ll love the freedom her driver’s license brings, as I once did. I also have plans for turning her room into a guest room when she’s gone. I can’t wait for more space. In the mornings before school when we argue over necklines and hemlines I dream of mornings without strife. But then I catch myself. Dreaming. Dreaming the wrong dreams. Dreaming time away when I should be basking in the now.
I’ve made more withdrawals from my daughter’s emotional bank account than I care to admit. But, just when I think I’ve lost her forever, that I’ve messed up so badly, she forgives me. Her forgiveness rains down on me like her name-Grace. She amazes me and gives me hope. Hope that I can be a better mom. The mom she needs.
I’ve come to realize the hard way (of course) that God is so much bigger than my shortcomings and failures. When I’m at my weakest or even my moodiest, He is still working on my behalf and he is still present in my daughter’s life, revealing His love and plans for her. We can’t mess up our kids beyond God’s ability to repair them.
Do you ever find yourself wishing the time away? Do you ever feel inadequate as a parent?