Some relationships push us to the brink of all our coping and relational skills. They make us want to pull out our hair, swear like a sailor, run away, or eat a lot of chocolate cake.
For me, it’s the relationship with my middle schooler. I wish I could outsource her for this season of development. I know it’s not okay say it, but I just needed to get that one out there. Maybe that’s because:
- She’s never been easy, and the hormone addition makes me want to go back and punch people who said when we adopted: “You think THIS moodiness is bad, wait until she’s a teen!”
- She apparently has only three settings now: “sullen,” “snarky,” and “screaming.”
- My favorite parenting book feels like it stopped working and her mental illness makes discipline feel like I’ve been dropped, blind-folded, spun-around, into a cave full of angry bats.
- Or maybe it’s that she is as big as me and there’s something totally wrong about someone looking me in the eye, acting like a toddler.
Whatever it is, I would like to cast my vote for sending kids this age away to a deserted island, where they could tween each other to near-death, and all of us would be safe and able to sleep again.
Oh, yeah, we already do that. It’s called middle school. Where a thousand young narcissists gather together to stew in hormones and body odor for 7 hours a day. . .
Yes, I admit it. I’m screwed. This season is not fun.
Except that, now that I
whine about mention it, it has its delights too.
- Like the fact that she gets my sense of humor now, instead of staring, then resuming her tantrum like when she was smaller.
- Or that she has a wicked sense of humor of her own, which never ceases to catch me off guard in delightfully unexpected ways.
- Or the way her art is growing up with her, and how her cope-by-art projects rival boutique crafts in any upscale store.
- Or how she can not only switch from happy to
evilmiddle-schoolish on a dime, but can switch back equally easily. (I only wish I could keep up with the switching!)
- Or that she still wants me to tuck her in and spend time talking about her day, even if ten minutes before, she hated my guts. It feels good to know that love’s still hiding there under the surface.
- Or that she’s noticed I’m a real live human, not just a need-meeter, and asks how she can pray for me when I’m on a writing deadline.
- Or how she sees when I’m a tired human, and turns the yelling bossiness on her sisters to get the house cleaned up sometimes.
She can be pretty darling in all her weirdness, actually.
But then again, I suppose that’s true for all of us. Both the frustrating, and the delightful parts. And so I find myself, face-down, doing the only thing I know to do: Pray. . .
Lord, please give me eyes to see her the way you do. Help me feed the wonder in her, and know the best way to curb the less wonderful.
Help me love her like you love me in my why-must-I-still-act-like-a-twelve-year-old moments. To be the mirror she needs to grow strong and loving in every part of the design you’ve woven into her.
I can’t handle her right now, God. But you can.
Guide me. Teach me. Show me how to love well in this season.
Give me the courage to engage her when all I want is to turn and run and lock myself in a quiet closet.
Thank you for never giving up on me in those years.
I’m scared. I’m tired. I’m struggling. And. . . I trust you anyway.
Whose weirdness is challenging you most these days?
How might you love that person well today?
P. S. Guess what? The message that Your Weirdness Is Wonderful is SPREADING! An excerpt of my book appeared today on the Women of Faith blog! Check that out —> here.