Parenting {How Prayer Helps}

I hate parenting.

I know. You’re all thinking it though. You hate it too.

Why does it have to be so hard?

When I first learned I was pregnant with my first child, I fell to my knees and cried. I was only 24. I wasn’t ready for a baby!

I was so wrong. Sleepless nights, explosive diapers and endless crying was so easy. I can say that now because I am not in the midst of it. Those days were a breeze! I can totally handle a baby.

But I didn’t get a baby. I got a person! That baby has a personality, an attitude and mood swings.

I tell people all the time that I prayed to have boys. I wanted boys so bad. Growing up with brothers, I was used to the rough and tumble, the noise and the smelly socks. Boys are straightforward and come without all the d-r-a-m-a. Their fiances pay for the wedding and there is no cute hashtag for us moms with girls. (#BoyMom much)?

God laughs when you make plans. So, he gave me two beautiful girls.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my girls. #GirlMom

I love when they want to talk about the boys, when they ask me to blow-dry their hair and when I get the sweetest texts in the middle of the day. I love to shop with them and cook with them. I love to talk about their dreams and watch their eyes as they dance with thoughts of their future.  I even love their celebrity crushes and can remember how it felt when my own favorite boy band came on the radio.

I just hate parenting.

It hurts too much. And Mom, if you are reading this, you were right. It really does hurt me more than it hurts them. There. Now it’s in writing.

I can change a diaper. I can’t change a failing grade.

I can soothe crying with a pacifier.  I can’t mend a broken heart.

I can drive my kid to every activity under the sun until Jesus comes back. I can’t fully let go when they drive out of my driveway.

It boils down to the fact that I just feel helpless. Here I am, the one they have always called to when they scraped their knee or had a bad dream. But now real life is getting in the way of my magic mom powers and I can’t fix everything anymore.

What scares me even more is that, as teenage girls, I am sure there is more that needs to be fixed than what they are telling me.

I hate it.

So, what’s a mom to do? We’re in this for life.

Exactly!

Each moment builds to the next and stretches out into a beautiful life. My girls aren’t babies any more. And one day they won’t be teenagers either. They will be adults with their own worries and regrets. Hopefully, they won’t be in therapy because of me and the way I handled their teenage years.

So, I pray. I beg God for help and for guidance. For strength and for wisdom. I pray for their dreams to come true and for them to stay healthy. I pray for their minds to be focused on righteous and holy things. I pray for them to make good decisions and for all the stinky boys I wanted so badly to not lead them astray.

It’s still so hard and I still hate it.

But maybe that’s the point? Having teenage girls has done wonders for my prayer life.

When they were babies I prayed over them as I rocked them to sleep. I pray for them now as they pull out of the driveway. I will pray for them as they walk down the aisle and after we hang up from long distance phone calls.

Being a mom means my children always have someone who is praying for them. Their advocate during the tough times and  their cheerleader in the good times.

Thinking of it that way helps me realize what a privilege it is and makes me hate it a little less.

 

 

 

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Hold Loosely

The ticket line reached out into the parking lot when we pulled up to the stadium. We had arrived a few minutes late to the middle school football game because well, life with kids. I wasn’t invited to this particular event with my 13-year-old, but I didn’t really mind. I had 4 subjects of homework to tackle with my 5th grader waiting for me at home. Some days I wish that whole cloning humans thing would have worked out. Still, I’m a mom and the thought of leaving my kid anywhere without me will always be slightly unsettling.

Eying the line I said, “Do you want me to come with you to buy your ticket?”

I didn’t notice if she actually rolled her eyes because my focus was on the mob of people planning to kidnap her as soon as I drove off. “No, mom. I’m fine.”

“Are you sure? That line is awful long and you’ve never done this before.”

“Mom, I was here last week with dad. I know what I’m doing.”

“Well, where are all of your friends? Do you know where to go? Which side are you supposed to go to?”

“Mom! There’s the band. My friends are in the band. I know where to go. I’ll be fine.”

I sized up the dude at the end of the line and made sure I could recognize him in a line up if I needed to.

I sighed. “Ok. If you are comfortable and know what you are doing then go on. But leave your phone volume turned all the way up so you can hear it if I call you. And if you don’t respond you will lose your phone for a week!”

She bantered a bit with me about what if she couldn’t hear the phone over the band and it was then that I realized that my little girl will always be mine. Even if she’s spreading her wings a little more strongly and more quickly than I wish, she’s my gift. And God would never want me to hide what He has given me.

I watched her get out of the car and approach the ticket booth with a confidence I never had at 13. She took her ticket and slipped through the gate to enjoy an afternoon of making memories with her friends. I have my own teenage memories at that very same stadium. I cherish those. I’d be a fool to deprive her of those same pastimes.

Still, my heart was a little heavy as I grieved another piece of her childhood fading away and allowing for her maturity to take over. I fought the urge to call my friends who were staying at the game and ask them to keep an eye on her. I fought back the senseless worry of something dreadful  happening to her while she was there. I pushed away thoughts of random accidents happening to me on my way home causing her to grow up motherless. I didn’t say it was rational. I said it was senseless and random. Moms get it.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I heard the always rational, always there Creator of the universe. Creator of my daughter. And He gently whispered and reminded me that she didn’t belong to me first anyway. She’s on loan. And if I hold on too tightly to her she’ll never fly. She’ll never finish the work that He specifically created her to complete. And that no matter what happens to her whether it’s at an afternoon ball game with her friends, or in the safety of her own home, He’s got her right in the palm of His hand.

I thanked Him for that truth, turned up the music and carelessly drove the rest of the way home to finish math homework.

 

 

 

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