I guess I thought our relationship was different.
As I sit here writing this, my daughter is downstairs meeting a friend in the lobby at a hotel. We are away for the weekend at a basketball tournament. My sons are in the pool playing with Daddy and I was going to hang out with my daughter for a little while, but she told me she had already made plans to meet her teammate in the lobby to chat.
I remember when she used to chat with me.
I remember when she used to want to go swimming in the pool with Daddy.
I remember when she used to want to go to the mall with me.
I remember because it was not that long ago.
Now, before I paint a weepy picture of teenage years, let me tell you that my daughter would happily go to the mall with me – especially if I am buying!
We have a close relationship, so I just kind of assumed that since we did, I would always be the first person she needed. I know it is important to be the mom first, and the friend second, but I guess I wanted both.
But a friend and a mother have two very different roles when you are a teenager. Friends give a girl a sense of belonging. A sense of community. A feeling that she is understood. Mothers give a girl a sense of where she has come from. The importance of being part of a family. And the blessings of courage and wisdom.
Although she does still need me, she also needs her friends. I am slowly realizing this is okay. Mothering is a lifetime of letting go. And with every step she takes, it is a step of me trusting Jesus to be in control.
Yet through these times of friends becoming more important, I still need to be available. I need to be ready to listen when my daughter wants to talk. I need to know when, “Let’s watch a movie together,” means, “I want to just sit close and be with you.”
Each of these is a deposit. Deposits into making my daughter feel loved. And those deposits teach her that a mother’s love will last. Friends will always be important, but after the trips to the malls are done, after the texting is turned off, my little girl will still want me to tuck her in at night.
Even in a hotel.