This Motherâ€™s Day post is dedicated to the teenager in the house, who remains the sweetest child of mine.
Now, donâ€™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 Motherâ€™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, â€œno huffing, itâ€™s Motherâ€™s Day,â€ which he follows with the biggest smile. Plus,Â theyâ€™ve all given me peace today, peace from complaining or fighting; so much so that Iâ€™ve taken two naps! But itâ€™s the Girl (the 13yo) who has the sweetest heart, and Iâ€™m pretty sure I didnâ€™t have anything to do with it.
Teenagers are often the focus of a lot of negativity from parents. No doubt itâ€™s a volatile time in oneâ€™s life, with so many physical and emotional changes and parents who just donâ€™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, weâ€™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, Iâ€™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 sheâ€™d rather her friend have something), and sheâ€™s been talking a lot lately about volunteering at an animal shelter this summer.Â Sheâ€™s always been caring, worrying about how otherâ€™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 â€œUgh. Sheâ€™s so sensitive,â€ when Iâ€™ve hurt her feelings somehow. I donâ€™t think anyone would ever use the word â€œsensitiveâ€ to describe me (though I am getting mushier as I get older). Iâ€™m also pretty sure she gets her caring nature from her dad (I mean, he went into nursing, after all). But Iâ€™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 didnâ€™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 (dadâ€™s mom); this without any prompting from either of us. And when dad said they should clean the kitchen, because they shouldnâ€™t leave the mess for me to clean, she dutifully worked at whatever was needed (even while her brother complained that he â€œalready did a jobâ€).
Now I could use all this as evidence to say look what I great job Iâ€™ve done as a mother. But anyone who knows me wouldnâ€™t let me get away with that. Â I couldnâ€™t even contain my cynicism when I hugged the Girl and told her thanks, adding, â€œYou donâ€™t want anything, do ya?â€ But Iâ€™m learning to appreciate her more and more and wouldnâ€™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.