This Mother’s Day post is dedicated to the teenager in the house, who remains the sweetest child of mine.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The boys have their sweet moments. The way hubs tells it, Wonder Boy (the almost 7yo) took extra special care in picking just the right Mother’s Day card for me yesterday, going so far as to sit cross-legged on the floor of the store while reading and rejecting at least half a dozen. And Boy Genius (the 11yo) has reminded himself (aloud) several times today, “no huffing, it’s Mother’s Day,” which he follows with the biggest smile. Plus, they’ve all given me peace today, peace from complaining or fighting; so much so that I’ve taken two naps! But it’s the Girl (the 13yo) who has the sweetest heart, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t have anything to do with it.
Teenagers are often the focus of a lot of negativity from parents. No doubt it’s a volatile time in one’s life, with so many physical and emotional changes and parents who just don’t understand (despite the fact that they all went through it themselves once). (Cue the Fresh Prince, a.k.a. Will Smith, circa 1988). And I know that, with one at 13, we’ve only scratched the surface of the years to come, but I want to take a moment to embrace the good that comes with her getting older.
This, I’m fairly certain, is the first year that she has taken some initiative and control over doing things for others. She has always liked to give her friends gifts (and many are ones she makes herself or gives from her own stuff because she’d rather her friend have something), and she’s been talking a lot lately about volunteering at an animal shelter this summer. She’s always been caring, worrying about how other’s feel, and wanting everyone to be happy. That uber-sensitivity (as I used to call it) is something that I have complained about, saying “Ugh. She’s so sensitive,” when I’ve hurt her feelings somehow. I don’t think anyone would ever use the word “sensitive” to describe me (though I am getting mushier as I get older). I’m also pretty sure she gets her caring nature from her dad (I mean, he went into nursing, after all). But I’m reminded of a lesson we discussed in a Sunday School class at the church we attended in Tennessee: About how sometimes we try to change the things about our kids that are different than us, when we should remember that God made them that way for a reason.
This morning, she cooked breakfast for the family; she had a little help from dad, but it was her idea. They didn’t even wake me up until my plate of food, cup of coffee, and gifts (which she wrapped) were waiting at my seat at the table. Then, while dad and I finished our coffee at the table, she summoned her brothers to her room so they could call their Mema (dad’s mom); this without any prompting from either of us. And when dad said they should clean the kitchen, because they shouldn’t leave the mess for me to clean, she dutifully worked at whatever was needed (even while her brother complained that he “already did a job”).
Now I could use all this as evidence to say look what I great job I’ve done as a mother. But anyone who knows me wouldn’t let me get away with that. I couldn’t even contain my cynicism when I hugged the Girl and told her thanks, adding, “You don’t want anything, do ya?” But I’m learning to appreciate her more and more and wouldn’t want to change her for anything. Yep, God gave my Girl the sweetest heart, and I think she might be wearing off on me.